Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Fixing business levy top priority of new lawmakers

by Candice Miller on January 3, 2011

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, said controlling the federal deficit will be a priority.
 
Miller was re-elected in November to represent the 10th House district. The district includes Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair and Sanilac counties and northern Macomb County.
 
“I think we will be looking at a lot of things to cut the federal deficit and cut unnecessary and out-of-control federal spending,” she said.
 
She also wants to find a way to boost jobs.
 
As a member of two committees — Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure — Miller said she hopes to educate her colleagues about the challenges her constituents face.
 
She is chairwoman of the Borders and Maritime Subcommittee, which falls under Homeland Security.
 
“I’ve already had several conversations with (Snyder) about transportation needs in Michigan,” Miller said.
 
While California and Florida received most of the money the federal government doled out to build high-speed rail lines, Miller still thinks Michigan has a chance to cash in.
 
“I have been talking about that, particularly with the Amtrak station in Port Huron,” she said. “If you can really get it going where people will start to use that rather than driving, the depots begin to spur economic development and things build up around there. That’s another area, I think, Port Huron can capitalize on that.”
 

January 2, 2011
Tired of taxes: Fixing business levy top priority of new lawmakers
By CRYSTAL GARCIA
Times Herald
http://www.thetimesherald.com/print/article/20110102/NEWS01/101020305/Tired-of-taxes-Fixing-business-levy-top-priority-of-new-lawmakers
State and federal legislators who started new two-year terms Saturday said their top priorities are balancing budgets and reforming taxes.
 
At the state level, Blue Water Area lawmakers said they are prepared to help fulfill Gov. Rick Snyder’s campaign promise of passing a two-year budget by July 1.
 
State legislators said they also will focus on repealing or reforming the Michigan Business Tax — which taxes businesses based on income and gross receipts.
 
Joe Fetterly, co-owner of Fetterly’s Tire & Auto Service, 2026 Lapeer Ave., Port Huron, said that would be nice. But ultimately, he said, the state needs to do something to rebuild the economy and promote job growth.
 
If business is slow, he doesn’t plan to hire more employees — business tax or not.
 
“Down the road, I’m still optimistic we’ll get (business) back, at least part of it,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is going to get back to the way it was.”
 
In Washington, local representatives said getting a handle on the federal deficit and creating jobs will be priorities.
 
The Times Herald asked all state and federal legislators to spell out their plans for 2011.
 
Here’s what they said.
 
State Rep. Jud
Gilbert said tax reform is his No. 1 issue.
 
That’s nothing new, he said. It’s been at the top of his list for two years.
 
Gilbert, R-Algonac, was elected in November to the 81st District House seat — a district that covers St. Clair County except the city of Port Huron and Burtchville, Columbus, Fort Gratiot, Kimball, Ira and Wales townships. He previously represented the state Senate’s 25th District.
 
The main tax on Gilbert’s radar is the Michigan Business Tax, although he offered no suggestions for reform.
 
“… How do we reform that?” he said. “Or go with Gov. Snyder’s proposal,” which would eliminate the tax and create a corporate income tax applicable to most businesses.
 
Gilbert also has concerns about the state’s sales tax.
 
“We need a more stable sales tax in a sense, which would mean some extension of that into services,” he said.
 
He’s asked for appointment to the chairmanship of the House Tax Policy Committee.
 
In addition to taxes, Gilbert wants to reform regulations, such as those that establish how often state departments must review policies. In some cases, he said, the state has established stiffer standards than federal law.
 
State Rep. Paul Muxlow, R-Brown City, wants to create jobs.
 
“I think the first order of business of the legislature is to do something more to stimulate the economy,” he said.
 
To that end, Muxlow said he already has submitted three bills to the Republican caucus.
 
The first would phase out the business tax.
 
“I think we need to address that, may need to replace it with something else,” Muxlow said. “Employers find that as something unfair to them.”
 
The other two bills deal with reforming how businesses are regulated and responding to a business’ applications for permits or licenses within 90 days.
 
“(We’re) trying to take some of the uncertainty out of the business world so that they have more confidence and they can plan,” he said.
 
Muxlow was elected in November to represent the 83rd District, which includes Sanilac County, the city of Port Huron and Burtchville and Fort Gratiot townships.
 
State Sen. Phil
Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, said he is on board with Snyder’s plan for the business tax.
 
He also expects to follow the governor’s lead on other issues.
 
“I think tax policy and job development will be first and foremost on his agenda, and I’m willing to back that up in the state Senate,” said Pavlov, who represents the 25th District.
 
The district includes Lapeer and St. Clair counties. Pavlov was elected in November and previously represented the 81st District in the state House.
 
As chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Pavlov said he wants to reform school funding.
 
“We’re going to take a look early on at the state pension system, and we’ll be looking at policies that drive student achievement,” he said.
 
Changes to the Detroit Public School system will be addressed early on, he said.
 
“There are significant reforms that need to take place in that school district that will affect the state,” Pavlov said.
 
State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Richmond, did not respond to phone calls or e-mails.
 
LaFontaine was elected in November to represent the 32nd District.
 
The district includes Memphis (the Macomb County portion), New Baltimore, Richmond, New Haven, Armada and Chesterfield and Armada townships.
 
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, said controlling the federal deficit will be a priority.
 
Miller was re-elected in November to represent the 10th House district. The district includes Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair and Sanilac counties and northern Macomb County.
 
“I think we will be looking at a lot of things to cut the federal deficit and cut unnecessary and out-of-control federal spending,” she said.
 
She also wants to find a way to boost jobs.
 
As a member of two committees — Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure — Miller said she hopes to educate her colleagues about the challenges her constituents face.
 
She is chairwoman of the Borders and Maritime Subcommittee, which falls under Homeland Security.
 
“I’ve already had several conversations with (Snyder) about transportation needs in Michigan,” Miller said.
 
While California and Florida received most of the money the federal government doled out to build high-speed rail lines, Miller still thinks Michigan has a chance to cash in.
 
“I have been talking about that, particularly with the Amtrak station in Port Huron,” she said. “If you can really get it going where people will start to use that rather than driving, the depots begin to spur economic development and things build up around there. That’s another area, I think, Port Huron can capitalize on that.”
 
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, intends to focus on job creation and repairing the economy.
 
In a statement e-mailed to the Times Herald, Matt Williams, a Stabenow spokesman, said:
 
“As the incoming chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, she is well-positioned to advocate for Michigan agriculture, which employs a quarter of our state’s workforce. As co-chair of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus and as a member of the President’s Export Council, Sen. Stabenow will keep leading the effort to revitalize American manufacturing and enforce our trade agreements.”
 
Williams said Stabenow plans to propose legislation — the Trade Enforcement Act — “to level the playing field for our businesses and workers.”
 
Protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp and other invasive species also will be a priority, Williams said in the statement. Stabenow will lobby for separation of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River System.
 
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat, could not be reached for comment. Messages left at his offices were not returned.

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