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    Last week State Representative John Espinoza took HB 4723 and 4725 to the House Committee on Commerce. Both bills are intended to to promote and retain economic growth in the Port Huron area through tax-free zones created by Renaissance Zones and Neighborhood Enterprise Zones. A Renaissance Zone is an area where businesses or residents in them are given tax-free status. Furthermore, they are exempt from the Michigan business tax, the six-mill state education tax, local real and personal property taxes, specific taxes levied in lieu of property taxes, utility users tax, and state and city income taxes. Neighborhood enterprise zones allow residential property owners to pay reduced taxes with the approval of the State Tax Commission.

    HB 4723 would authorize the creation of up to 25 renaissance zones specifically for border crossing facilities (located in a qualified border local governmental unit or is associated with international trade) with a duration of 15 years. The facilities would have to be located in a qualified border local governmental unit (A city with a population between 30,000-36,000 that contains an international border or a township that adjoins such a city). The bill would amend the current Renaissance Zone Act. The bill would apply to the Port Huron area, hence the large amount of support from Representative Espinoza.

    HB 4725 would amend the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Act. It would allow the same communities affected by HB 4723 to create a neighborhood entrprise zone. Finally the bill would "potentially reduce state and local property tax revenue by an indeterminate amount by granting eligibility to an additional specific facility". (House Legislative Analysis Section)

    The last action on these bills was the testimony given by Representative Espinoza's assistant, Nathan Medina on May 13, 2009 during the Commerce Committee meeting.

    Sources:
    House Committee on Commerce Testimony by Nathan Luis Medina
    House Legislative Analysis Section - legislature.mi.gov/documents

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