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2013 Senate Bill 257: Expand “Business Improvement Zone” tax-and-spend entities

Public Act 126 of 2013

  1. Introduced by Sen. Mike Kowall (R) on March 12, 2013, to expand the items that a “Business Improvement Zone” can spend money on, increase from seven years to 10 years the time one of these zones can operate without reauthorization, revise voting rules in a way that (potentially) reduces the proportion of property owners in the district needed to impose a zone's tax-and-spending powers, increase the proportion of owners needed to dissolve one, reduce notice and public meeting requirements required to establish a zone, allow the "zone" to sell services to particular property owners, increase penalties for not paying the "special assessment" property taxes these entities impose, and make other changes. These zones may be created by owners of a majority of the property in a certain area (not the same as the majority of owners), and have the power to impose property taxes (special assessments) to pay for the debt they incur to pay for projects that are supposed to benefit the property owners. Reportedly the city of Detroit is the main focus of the bill, but the "zones" are not limited to Detroit.
    • Referred to the Senate Economic Development Committee on March 12, 2013.
      • Reported in the Senate on March 21, 2013, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on April 10, 2013, to adopt a version of the bill that also increases the lifespan of these "zones" from seven to 10 years, and which revises other details. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on April 10, 2013.
  2. Passed 35 to 2 in the Senate on April 11, 2013.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the House on April 11, 2013.
    • Referred to the House Commerce Committee on April 11, 2013.
      • Reported in the House on May 8, 2013, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the House on September 12, 2013. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on September 12, 2013.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Lisa Lyons (R) on September 12, 2013, to allow all local governments to create these zones, not just cities and villages. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on September 12, 2013.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Mike Shirkey (R) on September 12, 2013, to only allow a new "zone" to be created in Detroit. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on September 12, 2013.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Frank Foster (R) on September 12, 2013, to require the services a "zone" may sell to a particular firm to be described in a written agreement and made available to all the property owners in the zone. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on September 12, 2013.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Frank Foster (R) on September 12, 2013, to allow the governing body of a "zone" to selectively cut any past-due zone assessments on a property that is sold to a new owner, at its discretion. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on September 12, 2013.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Frank Foster (R) on September 12, 2013, to reduce the proposed sanctions for a property owner not paying a "zone's" property tax assessments to having a lien placed against the property, rather than also allowing foreclosure against the owner (as happens when regular property taxes go unpaid). The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on September 12, 2013.
  4. Passed 77 to 31 in the House on September 12, 2013, to expand the items that a “Business Improvement Zone” can spend money on, increase from seven years to 10 years the time one of these zones can operate without reauthorization, revise voting rules in a way that (potentially) reduces the proportion of property owners in the district needed to impose a zone's tax-and-spending powers, increase the proportion of owners needed to dissolve one, reduce notice and public meeting requirements required to establish a zone, allow the "zone" to sell services to particular property owners, increase penalties for not paying the "special assessments" these entities impose, and make other changes. These zones may be created by owners of a majority of the property in a certain area (not the same as the majority of owners), and have the power to impose property taxes (special assessments) to pay for the debt they incur to pay for projects that are supposed to benefit the property owners. Reportedly the city of Detroit is the main focus of the bill, but the "zones" are not limited to Detroit.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Received in the Senate on September 17, 2013.
  6. Passed 31 to 4 in the Senate on September 18, 2013, to concur with the House-passed version of the bill.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  7. Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on October 8, 2013.

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