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Unexpected debate in MI House over tax expenditures

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network



An unexpected debate over business tax credits broke out on the state House floor Thursday. Michigan hands out almost $2 billion in business tax credits a year.

It's the most heated discussion the House floor has seen in weeks of budget debates, and it was spurred by a tax credit extension proposal for the Michigan International Speedway racetrack.

Democratic state Representative Fred Miller says it isn't smart or fair to extend business tax credits during a budget crisis.

"I would respectfully submit that we should put this money toward early childhood education and train young Michiganians to be entrepreneurs and businesspeople themselves, and create other businesses like this," he says. "Wake up members, let's vote this down."

But the House did not vote it down. The credit extension for the Jackson County racetrack was easily approved by supporters who say it brings more money and business into the state as a valuable tourist attraction. However, the doors of debate have been opened further over tax expenditures, as lawmakers continue budget negotiations.

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