During the late night final session day, the House of Represenatatives took up SB 334 which will allow four townships in Kent County to create Business Improvement Zones (which are currently limited to only cities and villages). There was an effort to expand this to all townships, which was opposed by the Michigan Municipal League because it is much more expensive for developers to build in an urban area with infrastructure than it is to build in a Greenfield. Economic development tools are crafted to be limited to urban areas which ensures equality between urban and Greenfield areas in terms of costs to build. Developers have said that it is 50% more expensive to redevelop as opposed to building new in a Greenfield. Governor Snyder has called for the revitalization of cities, and expanding this bill would be the exact opposite – which is why the Administration has opposed expansion of the bill. The bill was introduced to address a specific situation, and the League requested that it remain that way. The Senate passed this bill in the limited fashion, but the House defeated it on a 54-50 vote. It was postponed temporarily and died when the House adjourned.
Nikki Brown is Legislative Associate for the League handling economic development issues. She can be reached at email@example.com or 517-908-0305.