Senator Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg backs bills to create incentives for high-wage jobs

Michigan’s improved business climate has resulted in more than 480,000 private sector jobs over the last six years. Despite the economic growth, our state is still well below peak employment.

I recently supported legislation (SBs 1153-1155) that would create an incentive program to attract companies that add new high-wage jobs. Under the bills, businesses creating at least 500 qualified new jobs paying the county average wage or higher would be eligible for up to a five-year, 50 percent abatement on the tax withholdings of the new employees. Companies creating a minimum of 250 new jobs paying wages at 125 percent or more of the county average wage would be eligible for up to a 10-year, 100 percent abatement. The program would be limited to 15 new projects a year with a maximum value for all outstanding projects capped at $250 million.

In the fight for new jobs, Michigan faces fierce competition from neighboring states and even other countries. This program would provide a competitive tool in our efforts to attract well-paying jobs.

New law limits fundraising plates

Fundraising license plates offer an opportunity for Michigan motorists to support their favorite organization or a worthy cause. At the same time, the growing number of plates can create difficulties for law enforcement in identifying the plates on the road.

I supported legislation — now law — to cap the number of fundraising plates available at any one time to 20, excluding Michigan university plates. Public Act 327 of 2016 also revises startup fees and sets sales requirements. The new law promotes safety on the road while improving the process for fundraising license plates.

Sen. Brandenburg supports new rules for ride-sharing services and taxis

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft provide a new transportation option for many riders in Michigan.

A Senate-approved package of bills (SB 392, HB 4637, HBs 4639-4641) would create a statewide standard for ride-sharing services, eliminating or phasing out regulations that vary city-by-city. The new rules would apply to both the ride-sharing companies and taxicab and limousine services. Regulations would include background checks for drivers, insurance requirements and inspections for vehicles 5 years old or older. The legislation would protect the safety of riders while ensuring the standards for drivers are applied equally and uniformly.

Pure Michigan Winter Travel Guide available

Winter means family fun in Michigan!

From snow sports and ski trips to famous Michigan food spots and kid-friendly museums, the Pure Michigan Winter Travel Guide covers it all. There’s also information on Michigan state parks and trails and a winter events calendar. Please contact my office for a print copy or access the digital edition at www.michigan.org.

Pure Michigan Hunt application deadline nears

The “hunt of a lifetime” offers three lucky winners the opportunity to obtain licenses for spring and fall turkey, antlerless deer, bear, elk and first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area, along with a prize package valued at more than $4,000. Applications for the 2017 drawing are $5 each and available at license agent locations and online at www.mdnr-elicense.com until Dec. 31.

Since the start of the program, the Pure Michigan Hunt has generated more than $700,000 toward wildlife habitat restoration and improvements in Michigan. Find more information at www.michigan.gov/pmh.

Reading grant deadline

The Legislature has made early literacy a priority to help Michigan children achieve and succeed. As part of this year’s School Aid budget, the Michigan Department of Education announced grants to help increase student achievement in early literacy. The Department is now conducting round four of the Additional Instructional Time grant for schools, public school academies and intermediate school districts that did not receive a grant award this fiscal year.

The deadline to apply is December 23, 2016. Find the application and background information at http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-28753_74161-367703–,00.html. If you have questions about the grant, email MDE-EarlyLiteracy@michigan.gov.