Thursday, December 07, 2006

Business tax replacement probably won't happen this year

Special session, anyone?

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- State lawmakers are unlikely to vote on a replacement for Michigan's main business tax this year, spokesmen for legislative leaders said Thursday.

That means the debate about replacing the Single Business Tax would become a top priority for the incoming state Legislature in early 2007.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants lawmakers to tackle the SBT issue before the legislative session ends in a week or so. She has proposed a replacement called the Michigan Business Tax, which would replace all of the revenue lost by the elimination of the SBT.

But some Republicans aren't happy with that. They want to see an overall tax cut, hoping it would spur more job creation in the state.

There also are concerns about taxing assets.

Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, who must leave office because of term limits, has been a proponent of creating a new business tax during the lame-duck session.

But his spokesman said Thursday a vote is highly unlikely before the Legislature adjourns for the year next week.

"We are nowhere near ready to vote on this package because all the questions have not been answered," Ari Adler said.

Matt Resch, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Craig DeRoche of Novi, also said a vote by year's end is unlikely.

Republicans voted earlier this year to speed up the repeal of the SBT so it will die at the end of 2007, rather than 2009 as previously scheduled. The SBT has been criticized as a complicated, anti-growth tax that punishes companies for hiring more workers and covering their health care.

Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said lawmakers should stay in Michigan until they've replaced the SBT.

"Most people in Michigan don't get a three-week vacation in December," Boyd said. "There is plenty of time for them to stay in Lansing and get the job done."

But Liz, they have Christmas shopping to do! And trips to the Caribbean planned! And... and... and... whatever it is they do to avoid taking any responsibility for their actions, because it seems that is what they are best at.

Worst. Legislature. Ever.