Daily Briefs

 Voters approve business tax cut 

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan voters on Tuesday decided to end a tax on manufacturing and small business equipment in a referendum that was pushed by Gov. Rick Snyder, who said scrapping the levy would encourage investment.

Proposal 1, the only statewide question on the primary ballot, will reimburse local governments for their lost personal property tax revenue by sharing a portion of the state’s use tax.
The personal property tax is paid by businesses and particularly manufacturers and is based on the value of their machinery, office furniture and other equipment. Some Michigan communities rely on the tax revenues to pay for basic services.

State lawmakers already repealed the tax on small businesses and manufacturers, but the issue required voter approval, which it now has.

“You buy a personal vehicle and they don’t charge you an extra 6 percent for it every year. But they do if you’re a business," said Jonathan Pack, 30, of Traverse City, who voted to end the tax. “We get taxed quite a bit, and this one doesn’t make sense to me.”

Michigan’s business community never has been a fan of the personal property tax, which applied to machines, office furniture and other equipment.

Business owners said it discouraged investment and was a compliance headache.

Under a deal that lawmakers, municipalities and businesses reached with Snyder’s administration, local governments would see the lost money fully replaced by a portion of Michigan's 6 percent tax on out-of-state purchases, lodging assessments and telecommunications, as well as a new special assessment on industrial equipment estimated to be about 20 percent of businesses’ current personal property tax bill.

Voters reject 4th term for Wayne County  Executive Robert Ficano 

DETROIT (AP) — Voters in Michigan’s most populous county have decided not to return Executive Robert Ficano for a fourth term, opting instead for a former sheriff who promised to re-engineer Wayne County government.
Warren Evans was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, with unofficial results showing the ex-Wayne County sheriff with 44 percent in the race for county executive. Westland Mayor Bill Wild had 26 percent. Ficano had 6 percent, putting him fifth in a field of 11 candidates.

“We've got a job to do through the end of the year,” Ficano said in a statement Wednesday after he called Evans to concede the race.

Evans, who also served as Detroit police chief for a year before being fired in part for being romantically involved with a subordinate, is expected to be elected to the post in November in the heavily Democratic county.

Ficano has said he had success with job creation, Cobo Center improvements and other efforts. Problems in recent years drew attention, however, including a scrapped jail project that ran nearly $100 million over budget.
Several former top aides also pleaded guilty amid a federal investigation of corruption.

Ficano, who thanked supporters after the vote, said he plans to take time to decide what’s next after more than three decades in public service. He has held countywide office since 1983, when he was appointed sheriff.