Governor Granholm Signs Small Business Investment Credit, Environmental Cleanup Legislation

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2010

New Incentives Provide Additional Tools to Attract, Create Jobs

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed nine bills into law creating a new tax incentive to spur investment in small businesses and streamlining the environmental regulatory process.  The new laws provide additional economic incentives to help the state attract and grow jobs.  

First announced in the governor's 2010 State of the State address, the new so-called angel tax credit adds to the state's aggressive economic development efforts to foster job creation by helping small businesses grow.  The bill, sponsored by Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods), creates an investment credit that would allow a taxpayer to claim an income tax credit worth 25 percent of an investment in a qualified small business.  In order to receive the credit, the investment would have to be at least $20,000 and be certified by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF).  The MSF can certify up to $9 million in credits in a single year, with up to $250,000 for each small business.  

"Increasing access to capital is a major component of our strategy to diversify our economy and create jobs," Granholm said.  "This legislation moves Michigan forward by encouraging new investment in companies that are critical to our economic vitality.  We continue to work to improve our business climate to help entrepreneurs and innovators future here, and the legislature deserves praise for taking swift, bipartisan action to help us do that." 

Granholm also signed an eight bill package that will streamline the regulatory process for environmental cleanups and encourage a greater number of liable parties to bring contaminated properties, known as brownfields, into environmental compliance.  The legislation is expected to contribute to the state's economic recovery and the vitality of Michigan communities, especially in older urban centers. 

"Michigan has a nationally respected brownfield clean-up and redevelopment program," Granholm said.  "This new legislation will continue to improve the program and increase Michigan's competitive edge by streamlining the regulatory process and facilitating the economical re-use and redevelopment of vacant commercial and industrial sites.  We are proud today to continue our push toward strengthening Michigan cities through clean, environmentally sound development." 

Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Michigan's primary statute governing environmental cleanup, was enacted in 1995.  The state program has a unique, causation-based liability scheme, land use based cleanup requirements, and a strong emphasis on redevelopment and reuse of contaminated property.  Over 14,000 Baseline Environmental Assessments have been conducted under the existing program on potentially contaminated properties, facilitating the sale and re-use of these properties.  These amendments will align Michigan's process with the current federal requirements for liability protection, encouraging even more property transactions.  

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment oversees and manages cleanup activities to protect public health and the environment.  Response actions include mitigating threats of harmful chemical releases, leaking gasoline and oil tanks, abandoned containers/drums, and fire/explosion hazards.  Many properties are "orphan" sites where the property has been abandoned or tax reverted and liable parties are not available to properly cleanup the environmental problems caused by their operations.  The DNRE has spent over $927 million at 1,800 orphan sites to cleanup and prepare them for redevelopment.  

The amendments to Part 201 were supported by the communities and environmental professionals, with the intent of ramping up the re-use of older industrial and commercial properties by improving the regulatory process and providing some much needed funding for the program.   The program was primarily supported in the past with revenue from the 1988 Quality of Life Bond and the 1998 Clean Michigan Initiative.  These funding sources are essentially exhausted, requiring the department to prioritize current operations at existing sites of environmental contamination, and develop a plan to cease future operations.  

"We believe this legislation will accelerate the timeframes involved in cleaning up contaminated properties," Granholm said.  "I applaud the leadership of our legislature and our many partners within the environmental community, as well as the DNRE for working tirelessly to get these bills signed into law." 

The bills signed today were: SB 1345 sponsored by Patty Birkholz (R-Saugatuck Twp.), SB 1346 sponsored by Alan Sanborn (R-Richmond Twp.), SB 1348 sponsored by John Gleason (D-Flushing), SB 1443 sponsored by Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac), HB 6359 sponsored by Ed Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), HB 6360 sponsored by Woodrow Stanley (D-Flint), HB 6363 sponsored by Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), and HB 6416 sponsored by Marty Griffin (D-Jackson).  House Bill 5921 was sponsored by Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods). 

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