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Posted on Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 3:53 p.m.

State leaders discuss business, gas taxes during "Lunch and Learn" in Saline

By Diane Brandt

Saline area business leaders identified the Michigan Business Tax and road maintenance funding as major concerns during a “Lunch and Learn” today with State Representative Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township, and State Senator Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.

Byrnes and Richardville agreed there's a need to take a step back and look at the state’s problems. But each noted reform is made more difficult by present term limits for members of the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives.

The luncheon was presented by the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce at Saline Liberty School.

Jeff Walter, owner of Latitude Consulting Group, a software consulting firm in Saline, told Richardville and Byrnes that when he lived in California, his state business tax liability was one-third of his federal tax bill.

“Last year, my Michigan taxes were 126% of my federal tax,” Walter said. “If I move out of state, I can save enough money to put both of my kids through college."

Byrnes, who is speaker pro tempore of the Michigan House, said the MBT is “a big issue” that needs to be addressed.

The surcharge on the MBT “probably is not the best was to do business, but we need to find a source of revenue to fill that hole,” Byrnes said.

Richardville, president pro tempore of the Michigan Senate, noted the Senate passed a bill in January that would eliminate the surcharge in two years.

The surcharge amounts to 21.99% of a business’s taxes. The Senate bill proposes reducing the surcharge to 11% for the 2009 tax year and eliminating it in 2010.

“But we haven’t yet heard of it being taken up in committee in the House,” Richardville noted.

In Richardville’s view, over-regulation is as big of a problem as Michigan’s tax structure.

As an example, he said he doesn't think barber shops need to be inspected.

Responding to complaints about highway maintenance, Richardville said “we’ve been getting screwed for 50 years” because Michigan receives less federal money for highway maintenance than it pays to the federal government in gasoline taxes.

Byrnes said Michigan receives only 91 to 92 cents back for every dollar paid in gasoline taxes to the federal government.

Both legislators said needed changes are hindered by the state’s present legislative term limits.

A state representative is allowed to serve only three terms of two years each, and a state senator may serve only two terms of four years each.

The limits apply to an individual’s lifetime.

In 2010, Byrnes said 31 of 38 state senators will be replaced, except for those coming from the House.

In the state House of Representatives, “at least half will be replaced,” she said.

About 25 people attended the luncheon.

Diane Brandt is a freelance writer for Reach our news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Sat, Sep 19, 2009 : 10:25 a.m.

Ben, cut to the bone, but stay away from my continuously decreasing paycheck.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 11:51 a.m.

Neo, I asked what you would cut. Like most of you, I'd like lower taxes too. Again, What would you cut?!!!!!!


Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

@BenWoodruff What do we want? No more taxes for a starter. We pay way too much in taxes, and NOW the politicians say we need to increase them? If you haven't noticed, no one is getting a pay increase (except teachers of course). Michigan's economy is bad, and the average Joe that is hanging on by the skin of his teeth can not afford additional taxes. You can't fix a bleeding patient by stabbing him in the gut. Stop the bleeding now before we go into cardiac arrest.


Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 6:27 p.m.

So let me get this straight. You want cuts? Ok, Where? Please enlighten me and be specific, shawsbrain and braggslaw. In4mation, do you want incentives to business or not? I can't tell. They use the credits to reduce taxes to business and you whine? Don't like the movie industry making films here? What none of you ever say is what services you want from the government and what you will do without. No more public schools? No more roads? Private toll roads only? Privately contracted Fire and police? What do you want?


Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 7:49 p.m.

Raising taxes during or directly after a recession is ludicrous. Let people keep their money and spend it the way they want. How about we cut govt. spending? Gee what a great idea.


Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 6:25 p.m.

C'mon Pam. You don't need to replace the source of funding. Make the necessary cuts. Smaller government and less taxes is the road to prosperity. You democrats need to join the real world.