Small business owners want Snyder, lawmakers to keep moving the ball forward on pro-growth policies
(January 13, 2014) – Michigan’s leading advocate for small business today
announced its top priorities for the coming legislative session that emphasizes
staying on the path to improve Michigan’s business climate laid out in previous
“It is noteworthy that the focus of our agenda has
changed from the past theme of ‘getting Michigan back on track’ to a new ‘stay
the course and continue Michigan’s comeback’ approach,” said Charlie Owens, Michigan State Director for
the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “This change
reflects the significant progress our state has made in altering course away
from the failed policies of the past and embracing a new path to prosperity and
The organization’s Small Business Agenda for 2014 includes responsible budgeting,
following through on labor, regulatory and tax reforms from prior sessions and
assisting small business with new Obamacare regulations.
“We have won many battles in the last legislative
sessions,” said Owens. “But every victory is only one election away from being
undone so the fight continues to keep important ground gained and stay on
course for a new Michigan.”
Rick Snyder is set to deliver his State
of the State Address on January 16, in which he’ll outline his goals for
2014. Owens gave the Governor and the Legislature an “A+” for taking
steps in prior sessions that will help small business grow and create jobs.
Owens also said he is optimistic that small business priorities will be
reflected in the Governor’s 2014 agenda. “This Governor ‘gets it’ when it
comes to recognizing the important role small business plays in Michigan’s
recovery,” said Owens. NFIB’s top priorities for 2014 are:
Implement Michigan’s Right to Work Law
Landmark legislation making Michigan a Right to Work
state was passed at the end of the 2012 session; however the fight for worker
freedom has just begun. Already the Civil Service Commission is claiming that
state employees are not covered by the law and many labor unions renegotiated
contracts as far out as possible before the law’s effective date. These
actions, and others, mean that NFIB, the NFIB Small Business Legal Foundation
and labor freedom advocates will be working to ensure that Michigan’s Right to
Work law is implemented as intended.
Follow Through with Personal Property Tax
NFIB supported reforms to the Personal Property
Tax passed in 2012 will require a statewide vote of the people in order to
implement the structure for local government revenue reimbursement. If voters
reject the proposal, then the entire Personal Property Tax Reform effort will
be in jeopardy. NFIB will be working to ensure the success of the statewide
Personal Property Tax ballot proposal.
Support a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment via the Article V Process
NFIB is the only business group in Lansing and Washington DC to support a nationwide effort to use the Article V process outlined in the U.S. Constitution to move Congress toward adopting a Balanced Budget Amendment. The process requires 34 state legislatures to adopt similar resolutions that would call for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. With NFIB advocacy, Michigan is already moving forward in this effort with joint resolutions in both chambers and support from Governor Snyder.
Repeal Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law
With strong NFIB support, Michigan has already
made union favored “Project Labor Agreements” on public construction illegal.
Repealing Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Act is the next step in assuring fair and
open competition on publicly funded construction projects. The state’s current
prevailing wage law acts as a “super minimum wage” that sets wages much higher
than local construction wages determined by fair competition in the free
market. NFIB will be supporting legislation that will eliminate the prevailing
wage requirement on public construction projects financed with state taxpayer
Fight for Small Business in the Road Funding
In past sessions, several different funding ideas
for roads have been proposed. While we recognize the need for good roads and
adequate funding, this is a difficult time for tax and fee increases on
Michigan small business job providers. NFIB small business owners have made it
clear that they are not supportive of a motor fuels tax increase or a hike in
vehicle registration fees. Lawmakers should consider dedicating a substantial
portion of the projected budget surplus for the coming year to road
construction and maintenance in order to avoid hikes in the gas tax and vehicle
Keeping the State’s Fiscal House in Order
Without Tax Increases
For years, NFIB led the fight to demand spending
reforms and head off attempts to balance the budget on the backs of Michigan
small business. As a result, we now have a real balanced budget that does not
depend on tax increases on small business and avoids the one-time fixes and
gimmicks used in the past. But vigilance is needed to be certain that runaway
spending and the urge to finance it with new taxes do not make a comeback.
Guard Against Attempts to Change the New
Corporate Income Tax
Dumping the dreaded Michigan Business Tax (MBT)
and replacing it with a new small business friendly Corporate Income Tax is a
major victory for small business, but special interests are already looking for
ways to “tweak” the tax and expand the base or raise the rate. Some have even
suggested that business should foot the bill for expanded road funding via an
increase in the Corporate Income Tax rate.
Help Small Business Cope with the Affordable
NFIB was the only business organization in the
country that challenged the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) before the United States Supreme Court.
However, the Court’s decision and the outcome of the 2012 elections have made
it clear that implementation of the law will begin in Michigan. While NFIB will
be helping members with seminars and information to keep members out of trouble
with compliance requirements, we will continue efforts to change or repeal this
Continue Progress on Cutting Unnecessary
Much progress has been made in improving Michigan’s
regulatory policy and recognizing its impact on the overall business climate
for our state. With the support of the Snyder administration and the
legislature efforts have focused on establishing a clear and convincing need
standard and procedure when considering any rule that exceeds Federal
standards. In addition, the practice of commissions and agencies acting outside
of legislative intent has been restricted. NFIB will pursue additional
opportunities to lighten the regulatory burden on Michigan small business.
Protect Private Property Rights
Private Property Rights are the bedrock of our free
enterprise system and they are always under attack from overzealous government
agencies and local government. Recently, local governments have attempted to
retroactively asses property owners for past fees and taxes uncollected because
of their own incompetence. NFIB will continue to work to end the abuse of
private property rights and fight against regulations that diminish the use and
value of private property.
Prevent Erosion of Liability Reforms in Michigan
Over the years, one of the few bright spots in Michigan’s
business climate has been our legal system. Vigilance is necessary if we are to
keep this advantage from being eroded by trial attorneys and activist groups.
NFIB will be exploring legislation that would halt attempts by the trial bar to
loosen long standing case law in the area of trespasser liability. If allowed
to succeed, these efforts by trial attorneys will increase liability and
exposure for private property owners. Small business is especially vulnerable
to this type of litigation.
No Services Tax to Fund Overspending
Michigan has finally brought spending under control and
balanced the budget without gimmicks, however, the tax and spend crowd is
always floating a tax on services as a way to raise more revenue so it can
resume spending. Recently, the Superintendent of
the State Board of Education made public comments that the sales tax should be
expanded to services as a way to increase funding for education. NFIB defeated attempts to
expand the sales tax to services in 2010 and 2011 and will be working again in
2014 to keep this bad idea off the table.
For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com/michigan.