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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2003 House Bill 4472

Public Act 79 of 2004

  1. Introduced by Rep. Alexander Lipsey (D) on March 27, 2003, to authorize property tax subsidies (abatements) for the Pfizer/Pharmacia Corporation. This is in response to concerns that, with the proposed purchase by Pfizer of the Pharmacia Corporation, some 8,500 Pharmacia employees in the Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor areas might be reduced or moved to other states. The bill is drafted in such a way as to only apply to this company. Specifically, it would allow local governments to exempt new equipment acquired by the company from personal property tax.
    • Referred to the House Commerce Committee on March 27, 2003.
    • Reported in the House on May 6, 2003, without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
  2. Passed 102 to 5 in the House on May 14, 2003.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on May 15, 2003.
    • Referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on May 15, 2003.
    • Reported in the Senate on June 17, 2003, with the recommendation that the bill pass.
    • Amendment offered in the Senate on December 2, 2003, to clarify language in a provision contained in the bill in a way that does not change the substance of the provision. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 2, 2003.
  4. Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate on December 3, 2003, to authorize property tax subsidies (abatements) for the Pfizer/Pharmacia Corporation. This is in response to concerns that, with the proposed purchase by Pfizer of the Pharmacia Corporation, some 8,500 Pharmacia employees in the Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor areas might be reduced or moved to other states. The bill is drafted in such a way as to only apply to this company. Specifically, it would allow local governments to exempt new equipment acquired by the company from personal property tax.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Received in the House on December 3, 2003.
  6. Passed 103 to 1 in the House on April 1, 2004, to authorize local property tax abatements by communities with Federal Mogul corporation, in conjunction with Senate Bill 824, which authorizes MEGA single business tax credits for the firm. The previous purpose of the bill, to provide subsidies to Pfizer Corporation, was accomplished by 2003 Senate Bill 540.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  7. Received in the Senate on April 1, 2004, to authorize local property tax abatements by communities with Federal Mogul corporation, in conjunction with Senate Bill 824, which authorizes MEGA single business tax credits for the firm. The previous purpose of the bill, to provide subsidies to Pfizer Corporation, was accomplished by 2003 Senate Bill 540. Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on April 1, 2004.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

    • Moved to reconsider by Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom (R) on April 1, 2004, the vote by which the Pfizer subsidy version of the bill was passed. The motion passed by voice vote in the Senate on April 1, 2004.
    • Substitute offered by Sen. Alan L. Cropsey (R) on April 1, 2004, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that is specifically tailored to authorize local property tax abatements by communities with Federal Mogul corporation, in conjunction with Senate Bill 824, which authorizes MEGA single business tax credits for the firm. The previous purpose of the bill, to provide subsidies to Pfizer Corporation, was accomplished by 2003 Senate Bill 540. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on April 1, 2004.
  8. Signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on April 21, 2004.

Comments

Rep. Drolet's "no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on May 15, 2003 
Rep. Drolet, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and Members of the House:

This bill grants special favors to one particular drug company in one particular place to the exclusion of other job providers in this state who contribute to our economy while paying their full tax load. Last year, we suspended the elimination of the Single Business Tax, a destructive job-killer that impacts all Michigan job providers. Yet, we continue to send money to the Department of Corporate Welfare and we continue to pass special tax breaks for favored companies as if we--the politicians--are the ones who know how to create jobs and wealth.

But the ugly truth, Mr. Speaker, is that this state is $2 billion in debt. If this legislature were a business, it would be a bankrupt business like K-Mart. Of course, we're not a business, and don't have to play by the same economic rules, so we can shell out special financial incentives to companies that the so-called 'experts' believe to be successful. Literally, this means that these favors went to K-Mart, which eradicated a huge chunk of its workforce and declared bankruptcy shortly after we declared it a success story that didn't have to pay its taxes. We gave up $6 million in Single Business Tax revenue for jobs that no longer exist while forcing most of Michigan's solvent job providers to keep paying all of their dreaded Single Business Taxes.

With economic expertise such as this in Lansing, is it any wonder how we spent all of the people's money and now tell our job providers with a straight face that we can't cut taxes for all of them?

Good intentioned proponents of this legislation claim that it is a necessary evil and a defense mechanism against other states that engage in similar market meddling. But the underlying assumption in their reasoning is that government is smarter than the marketplace and that government really can pick winners and losers.

A necessary evil?

K-Mart, an on-line grocery store called WebVan, and a number of other examples that I could name put paid to this misconception. This is government meddling in matters far beyond its know-how and rightful authority. It is government doing what is surely evil and never necessary."

2003 House Bill 4472  by admin on January 1, 2001 
Introduced in the House on March 27, 2003, to authorize property tax subsidies (abatements) for the Pfizer/Pharmacia Corporation. This is in response to concerns that, with the proposed purchase by Pfizer of the Pharmacia Corporation, some 8,500 Pharmacia employees in the Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor areas might be reduced or moved to other states. The bill is drafted in such a way as to only apply to this company. Specifically, it would allow local governments to exempt new equipment acquired by the company from personal property tax

The vote was 102 in favor, 5 opposed and 2 not voting

(House Roll Call 133 at House Journal 39)

Click here to view bill details.