GR Mayor Heartwell decries repeal of SBT
GR Mayor George Heartwell weighed in against the repeal of the SBT in Saturday's Press, with these three points:
- In an anti-tax environment, there are only three places to draw replacement revenues once the SBT is gone: revenue sharing with cities, education and the prison system. With corrections unlikely to be touched, the money will have to come from the cities, meaning less police and fire protection, etc., and from the schools. And we know what that means.
- The SBT is used as a way to create tax credits toward redevelopment of brownfield sites. Grand Rapids alone has such projects in development to the tune of about $600 million. Brownfield redevelopment is a big job maker, but with no more SBT revenues, Heartwell said, "It's impossible to sell credits against these projects."
- With the SBT gone and no clear-cut plan for replacing the revenue it generates, Michigan suddenly looks even more iffy as a place for businesses to set down roots. Indeed, right after the repeal vote, Standard & Poor issued a negative outlook rating for Michigan. Wrote Heartwell:
Instability is more threatening to business than is a known, though unpopular, tax. Businesses now considering relocating to Michigan will ask: What will replace SBT? Will it work for our business? Is it better or worse than what Indiana offers? As of today I can't answer those questions, so Indiana wins. We lose.Gov. Granholm has called the repeal an "act of cowardice" and estimated it could cost every Michigan family another $800 in taxes if the SBT revenues are replaced, and as Heartwell also fears, by cutting state aid to cities and education. Repealing the SBT at this time was a political move by the state's republican leadership and backed by the DeVos campaign, nothing more. How discouragingly sad for the people of this great state.