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Whitmer signs bill allowing new taxes to fund local projects

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law that, with voter approval, will give Kent County local governments more taxing power to fund a riverfront amphitheater and soccer stadium in downtown Grand Rapids.

House Bill 5048, sponsored by state Rep. John Fitzgerald, D-Wyoming, authorizes Kent County local governments to increase tax revenue raised by hotels and motels as long as the voters in that local unit of government approve the increase.

The change will increase from 5% to 8% the maximum excise tax a county may impose on individuals providing rooms for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes to transient guests.

A county must have a population of less than 600,000 and have a city with a population of at least 40,000 to impose the excise tax of up to 5% of the total charge of the accommodations.

The change will allow a local government in a county with a population of between 600,000 and 775,000 to impose an excise tax of up to 2% on individuals who rent temporary rooms to transient guests, upon approval of a majority of electors.

The unclear amount of revenue would fund the new riverfront amphitheater and a new soccer stadium in Grand Rapids.

Michigan taxpayers through the 2023 budget have paid $30 million for the amphitheater.

“Today’s bipartisan legislation will ensure Kent County and the Ccty of Grand Rapids can continue to grow and thrive,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “Grand Rapids is one of the fastest-growing cities in Michigan and with more tools in their toolkit, they can finish two significant projects—a stadium and an amphitheater—to make their community a better place to live, work, and play.”

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss welcomed the change.

“Our convention center and downtown arena demonstrated that these projects provide a significant return on investment and add to the vibrancy of our entire region,” Bliss said in a statement. “This enabling legislation provides another great opportunity to continue to support catalytic projects, that will have an impact for generations to come.”

Whitmer also signed HB 4012, sponsored by state Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeeland, which amends how modified speed limits are determined.

“I am happy to finally have this commonsense bill become law,” state Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeeland, said in a statement. “Enacting this bill will help to correct less than perfect language in the current law related to how speed limits are set, provide ways to reduce costs for our local road agencies, and institute clear guidelines to help keep all roadway users safer.”

HB 4183, sponsored by state Rep. John Roth, R-Interlochen, extends the exhibition period that allows historic vehicles to be driven on the road with historic license plates to three months, up from one.

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