Legislator: Panel worked diligently to promote jobs in state
State Rep. Eric Leutheuser, chair of the House Commerce and Trade Committee, today underlined key issues addressed by the 15-member group during the first six months of the year.
Leutheuser sponsored a bill within a legislative package amending and improving current state consumer protection and franchise investment laws. Pyramid schemes are currently illegal in Michigan, but the law had not been revised in years. New startups in the industries of direct selling and multi-level marketing, featuring the sale of real products, have been publicly perceived to be pyramid schemes and clearer definition was needed to differentiate the practices. The bills advanced through the House Commerce and Trade Committee in April and were signed in June after overwhelming approval in both the House and Senate.
“Real businesses needed to be sorted out from dishonest practices within law,” said Leutheuser, of Hillsdale. “This update will protect consumers within our state while allowing legitimate sales practices distributing real products to flourish in Michigan and help our economy.”
Leutheuser also was instrumental in moving through a proposal sponsored by state Rep. Steve Marino creating a new monthly payment option for job providers, in response to the rise of outsourced bookkeeping. Under the plan, paychecks can be issued on the 16th of each month instead of the first day while keeping the same per-month pay structure. Another bill sponsored by Leutheuser allows more flexibility for property owners during commercial redevelopment periods.
House Bill 5435, now Public Act 250 of 2018, changes language within the Commercial Rehabilitation Act. Enacted in 2005, the goal of the law was to provide local governments with an economic development tool to incentivize property improvements across the state. A CRA certificate can be requested through local government by property owners or developers that freezes the assessed value of the property for up to 10 years while revitalization work occurs.
But the freeze could not be undone under existing law. Problems arose from decreasing property values or incorrect assessments within the 10-year timeframe, and owners or developers were forced to pay the higher tax without recourse. Leutheuser’s proposal allows the CRA certificate to be removed, if requested and approved.
“This program has been vital during Michigan’s comeback, improving downtown commercial and residential areas to attract businesses, jobs and people,” said Leutheuser. “In an effort to be business-friendly and still keep local governments in control of development and who receives these exemptions, this legislation was a common-sense update as we continue to rejuvenate our communities and show that the state is open for business.”
So far in 2018, the House Commerce and Trade Committee has discussed or reported 23 bills and resolutions in meetings spanning from January to June.
PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Eric Leutheuser (right) provides testimony for House Bill 5435 before the House Commerce and Trade Committee in February. Leutheuser, who serves as committee chair, was joined by state Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso, who crafted similar legislation on commercial redevelopment.