Tax & Regulatory Affairs Committee Roundtable with House Tax Policy Chair, Rep. Lynn Afendoulis
Last week, the Chamber’s Tax & Regulatory Affairs Committee hosted a roundtable discussion with new House Tax Policy Chair, Representative Lynn Afendoulis. This discussion allowed our members to voice their opinions on the top tax concerns, what we’ve done right, and what the future of tax policy should look like for Michigan.
Highlights from the discussion include:
- Support for the significant improvements and pro-business climate under the last administration that helped strengthen the economy
- The need to reexamine past legislation that did not complete the legislative process, including bills that were Michigan fixes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
- Discussion stating our opposition to expanding the use and sales taxes to services, and the harm it would cause from different industry perspectives
- Completing the repeal of the Personal Property Tax which is still enforced on commercial and utility businesses
- Concerns of recurring efforts by local government to find revenue, some of which are indirect efforts that will not address the true problem and would affect businesses in the process
Expertise around the table varied and discussion covered tax issues related to everything from real estate to transportation and trucking. Local voices discussed how much of what you pay at the pump should go to roads, and the idea of not forgetting about our high traffic areas that need maintenance, like M37. The traditional ideals around limited government at all levels were pulled apart as well to determine what the right about of local control should look like.
Members also spoke to another top committee priority, repealing the Personal Property Tax (PPT), and various other business incentives in order to make Michigan the premier state to do business. Making sure Michigan is top of mind for both employers and employees, we need to compare ourselves to other states in our region. Looking at neighboring states who have eliminated their PPT puts them at a greater advantage to attract businesses and talent.
Representative Afendoulis was clear that she’s going to take a holistic approach to all the issues, stepping back and assessing an issue from all sides. She’s not afraid to ask the tough questions in order to find innovative solutions. Considering the broader picture and the “what ifs” will be top of mind for the Representative.
Representative Afendoulis also spoke to her own background and perspective coming to the table. With a background in communication, the Representative knows that there’s ownership in understanding. Messaging what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is crucial when it comes to a complicated topic like tax policy. She’s a supporter of a transparent and understandable system that makes sense everyone, not just those in the tax policy weeds.
Some final advice from our membership to the Representative:
- We should use the Federal Government shut down as an opportunity to look at our nonessential services. We tend to keep adding to our government without taking a hard look at what is really needed
- Innovation is key. We can’t approach this issue from the same lens and not challenge the status quo
- Do some research and look at other states, not just in the Midwest, to see what they’re doing
- Develop a relationship with the Department of Treasury so you can work in tandem
- Reach out to the experts in the field, and the larger business community through the Chamber, to get information on issues
The Chamber wants to make Michigan a top state for business investment and tax policy plays a critical role in supporting business growth. Although it’s too early for Representative Afendoulis to predict the top priorities of the Governor and her administration when it comes to tax policy, Michigan businesses will be in good hands with Representative Afendoulis as chair of this critical issue. West Michigan is fortunate to have great leaders representing us in Lansing and your Government Affairs team looks forward to working with Rep. Afendoulis and the rest of the Legislature to create great policy.
Interested in joining the Tax & Regulatory Affairs Committee? Contact Alexa Kramer at 616.771.0311.
More about Representative Lynn Afendoulis:
Representative Lynn Afendoulis serves the 73rd District which includes the city of East Grand Rapids and townships of Cannon, Nelson, Oakfield, Plainfield, Spencer and Grand Rapids Charter Township. Along with chairing the Tax Policy Committee, she was appointed a member of the Health Policy, Military, Veterans, & Homeland Security, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. She has worked for Universal Forest Products for the last 25 years, the past 15 years as Director of Corporate Communication, and was a recent member of the Grand Rapids Chamber Board of Directors.
You can contact Rep. Afendoulis at (517) 373-0218 or at LynnAfendoulis@house.mi.gov.