Senators Gilbert and Sanborn, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 777.
Senator Gilbert moved that the statement he made during the discussion of the bill be printed as his reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Gilbert’s statement, in which Senator Sanborn concurred, is as follows:
Every time we turn around, it seems we are passing another one of these refundable tax credits. I have heard of other areas of the state that may have companies interested in a battery credit. Of course, unless we treat them in the same generous fashion, we are told that they will go elsewhere. How many of these credits can we afford?
I would like to point out that this credit before us today in this bill isn’t the only one being proposed for this project. They may be eligible for numerous other credits such as MEGA’s brownfields and anchor credits and may be designated a renaissance zone. It’s interesting that as our unemployment rate rises; the number of these credits have increased dramatically. I am not saying that these credits are a cause of our high unemployment, but they are obviously not the answer.
Why don’t we try some broad-based tax relief that would create jobs and treat everyone equally? One of these tax credits affects one company or three or four. A cut in surcharge would help 100,000 companies—small, medium, and large. All of these refundable credits come at the expense of individuals and businesses that are already established in Michigan paying taxes and employing people—some who have made a commitment to Michigan for decades.
We are told repeatedly that we cannot fix the MBT surcharge, the tax on the tax and the gross receipts, or increase the compensation allowance for small businesses because we can’t afford it. We are always asked how are you going to pay for it?
In addition, we have cut funding for state troopers who serve to protect residents of our state—the most fundamental function of government. It has been proposed that we cut funding for Medicaid provider rates, clothing allowances for the poor, and early childhood education programs. Refundable tax credits directly affect our ability to pay for these program. On top of all of this, there have been proposals to increase existing taxes and create new taxes, such as a tax on bottled water and live entertainment, to help balance our budget.
I am well aware that these credits are pushed to some outyears, but there is no indication that our economy will be any better then. This year alone, we are paying out roughly $350 million in refundable tax credits. When will we ask how we are going to pay for these tax credits, just as we do with any other tax cut? Let’s do something for our home team for a change.