Legislators confront HICA and civil forfeiture at 2016 session
Big Wins for Business in Michigan’s 2016 Legislative Session
Michigan small business owners will keep more money in their pockets thanks to some critical wins in the legislative session this year.
Civil forfeiture, health care taxes and apprenticeships are all issues that Michigan lawmakers have tackled this session, and with staunch support from pro-business advocates such as NFIB, small businesses are going to reap some serious benefits.
Civil forfeiture is the biggest win for small businesses from the session so far, said NFIB/Michigan State Director Charles Owens. Civil forfeiture allows the government to seize private property without charging individuals with a crime.
“Many small businesses carry large cash sums to the bank for use in making change or deposits,” Owens said. “This creates a situation where small business is exposed to civil forfeiture seizures.”
The Legislature approved a bill that raised the burden of proof for these seizures from a “preponderance of the evidence” to a “clear and convincing” standard, which will reduce the amount of potentially harmful seizures that can take place, Owens said.
Another hotly debated issue this legislative session was the Health Insurance Claims Assessment. Fierce opposition from business advocates helped start the process for the eventual repeal of this burdensome tax. HICA applies to insurance carriers, third-party administrators and employers, and it helps fund the state’s Medicaid program.
Legislators compromised and passed a three-year extension of the tax instead of the eight-year extension that was proposed at the end of the 2015 session. This gives business advocates more time to come up with a strategy to repeal the harmful tax.
“We are working with the governor and legislators to come up with a viable alternative to the health insurance tax,” Owens said.
Along with these reforms, recovering automobile sales is bolstering the state’s economy, which has lagged behind others in post-recession recovery. A falling unemployment rate and steady job growth has business leaders optimistic about the future.
“Jobs are being created and the economy is improving dramatically,” Owens said.