Lawmakers Considering Tax Breaks for Companies that Build on Blighted Land

The bills could hit a roadblock in the state House, where Republican leaders have concerns.

Detroit Blight Authority

Tax breaks for companies that build on blighted land is quickly making its way through the state Senate. But it could hit a roadblock in the state House.

House Republicans have made it clear they have income tax cuts on the mind – to the tune of costing the state $1.1 billion in revenue during its first full year.

But legislation that would allow developers to recapture sales and use taxes on projects that transform undesirable areas like brownfields could conflict with the House’s plans.

State Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) is a sponsor of the tax capture bills packaged as the “MI Thrive Coalition.” He said, “We’ve got many in the House that favor this idea, because there are a lot of conservative values that are built into it.”

But House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) says he isn’t ready to take a position yet.

“Philosophically I think everybody is pretty clear where my record is,” he said. “I typically am one that does not like the idea of picking winners and losers.”

“But I’m not going to take a position on this bill until I’ve actually had an opportunity to see it, read it, review it, and understand it,” Leonard explained.   

Horn said he is willing to work with the House to achieve all their goals.

“We have a lot of work to do, going over to the colleagues on the House side and teaching them a little bit about what this series of bills does,” he said.

Both pieces of legislation have been voted out of committee and are waiting full floor votes in their respective chambers. 


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.