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Chamber Blog

Michigan House Approves Two Priority Items on GR Chamber’s Smart Restart Agenda

(Grand Rapids, Mich. – June 18, 2020) – The Grand Rapids Chamber applauds the Michigan House of Representatives for unanimously passing critical legislation to support businesses in our community.

“The Chamber has spent the last several months pursuing every potential avenue to help West Michigan businesses survive the public health crisis and the economic shutdown,” said Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “The Chamber is thrilled to see two top items from our ‘Smart Restart Agenda’ nearing the finish line, and we urge the Senate to quickly send the legislation to the Governor to be signed into law.”

Property Tax Deferment

House Bills 5761 and 5810 allow for an extension of the summer 2020 property tax without the threat of interest or fees and create a mechanism to support cash-flow for local units of government.

“Summer property taxes can be the single largest bill for a business every year, and concerns over ability to pay were among the greatest concerns for businesses who have gone with little to no revenue for an entire quarter,” said Joshua Lunger, Sr. Director of Government Affairs for the Chamber. “This legislation provides a short-term lifeline for these severely impacted businesses such as theaters, restaurants, sports and event venues, and more. We want these employers to be a part of our recovery and, at no fault of their own, they need more time to get their feet back under them and begin earning revenue.”

“With the prospect of no baseball this summer, the West Michigan Whitecaps knows that we will be facing a significant deficit, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we are able to serve the community when baseball returns,” said Lew Chamberlin, Founder & Chairman of the West Michigan Whitecaps. “I know that there are many small businesses facing similar challenges and we are pleased this legislation will help our business community navigate a difficult recovery from the coronavirus.”

Social Districts

House Bill 5781 passed in the Michigan House of Representatives yesterday. This legislation is critical to supporting the restaurants who contribute greatly to the vibrancy and fabric of our communities and creates opportunities for them to safely serve customers outdoors. Local governments will be able to designate these social districts and provide greater flexibility to these small businesses.

“Restaurants have been hit hard by the virus and we are working to overcome a lot of uncertainty.” Said Chris Heileman, CEO of Uccello’s Hospitality Group. “The social districts are amazing tools for us to safely serve guests and reactivate our community.”

“For weeks, the Chamber has worked closely with the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to advance this legislation,” said Joshua Lunger, Sr. Director of Government Affairs for the Chamber “We greatly appreciate the innovative work they are doing to support the business community as we reopen.”

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About the Grand Rapids Chamber

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce leads the business community in creating a dynamic, top-of-mind West Michigan region. Together with over 2,500 member businesses (80% of which are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees), we work to expand the influence, access, and information required to actively encourage entrepreneurial growth and community leadership. We offer the connections, resources, and insights needed to develop strong leaders, engage a diverse workforce, foster an inclusive and welcoming community, and advance a vibrant business environment that nurtures economic prosperity for all. Learn more at www.grandrapids.org

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