NFIB State Director Charlie Owens with Lt. Governor Brian Calley signing legislation to stop local governments from taxing plastic bags.
Small business achieved important victories in 2016! There were also many issues where we ran out of time before we could get our bills through the process and we will be working on those again in the new session that began this year. Here is a list of small business victories in 2016:
Local Income Tax Mandates on Employers Halted!
NFIB efforts were successful in defeating Senate Bill 1127 and House Bill 4829 in the 2016 session. These bills would have put the liability on the employer to determine if an employee is liable for local income tax – even if the business was not located in the city in question. Then it would have allowed any city with an income tax (22 of them) to come into any employer’s place of business (located anywhere in the state) and demand to see payroll records and conduct an audit. If an employee did not pay their city income tax, then the employer would responsible for the tax plus penalties and interest. You can read more about the issue HERE.
Attempts to Change or Eliminate Term Limits Defeated!
NFIB has surveyed its small business members numerous times over the years on the issue of changing Michigan’s term limits law and each time they have shown support for leaving the law as is. The most recent attempt to change Michigan’s term limits law was in the 2016 “lame duck” legislative session that occurred after the November 2016 elections. Efforts to lengthen the term of office for lawmakers or eliminate term limits entirely were discussed but not successful due in part to NFIB’s strong opposition. You can read more about this issue HERE.
Sales Tax on Parts Core Charge Eliminated!
NFIB supported legislation has been signed into law as Public Act 515 and 516 of 2016. The new laws will end the practice of charging sales tax on the core charge – deposit or swap fee – on batteries and auto and RV parts. Since the sales tax is not refunded when the core charge is refunded this amounts to another case of Treasury expanding the sales tax to an intangible service.
Phone Replacement Deadline Extended!
Small businesses have dodged a little known rule that would have required many of them to replace their phone systems by the end of 2016. NFIB supported legislation has extended the rule deadline from December 31 of 2016 to the end of 2019. The Public Service Commission rule required any business with more than 7000 square feet of space and a multi-line phone system to scrap their phones and buy a new system in order to comply with “Enhanced 911” emergency services. The original rule was written to apply to larger businesses with more than 40,000 square feet, but during the rules promulgation process the square footage threshold was lowered to 7,000 square feet. Although the deadline has been extended, NFIB will continue to work to eliminate or change this rule to reflect the concerns and costs to small business before the new deadline. For more about this issue go HERE.
Local Efforts to Tax or Ban Plastic Bags Stopped!
Efforts by some cities and local governments to pass ordinances and rules that would tax, ban, or regulate plastic bags, cups or other disposable packaging and containers has been stopped with NFIB backed legislation that passed in 2016. Small businesses are already overwhelmed with state and federal regulatory requirements and heaping yet another local recordkeeping and compliance burden on them is not a wise economic development policy for local governments or the state. Senate Bill 853 was signed by Lt. Governor Brian Calley as Public Act 389 of 2016. For more about this issue go HERE.
More Legislative Oversight of Agency Rules!
Too often state agencies attempt to usurp the legislature’s authority to make law by using the rules process to implement sweeping changes that go beyond the original intent of the law. Senate Bill 962, that was signed into law as Public Act 513 of 2016, will provide more opportunity for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to propose changes to a proposed rule and require a state agency to respond to those suggested revisions. You can learn more about NFIB’s ongoing efforts to stop overregulation in Michigan HERE.
Repeal of Civil Forfeiture Bond Requirement!
House Bill 4629 furthers NFIB efforts to reform civil forfeiture laws by repealing a requirement for a property owner to provide a cash bond before they could contest a civil forfeiture seizure of their property. The bill was signed into law as Public Act 418. You can read more about this issue HERE.
Illegal Government Employee Strikes Ended!
Public schools that have mismanaged their finances due to the legacy costs of over-generous pension, health care and compensation arrangements have been supporting higher business taxes to fund their union pension plans and benefits. To get their way and push for these higher taxes, Detroit teachers have been engaging in illegal strikes and “sickouts” as a way to force a blank check from Lansing. With NFIB support, legislation that would tighten penalties and require quicker action when public employees illegally strike was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Snyder as Public Act 194 of 2016. For more about this legislation go HERE