A plan from state Rep. Greg Markkanen helping small-business owners in border communities in the state’s Upper Peninsula today was overwhelmingly approved in a vote by the Michigan House.
Markkanen’s legislation, House Bills 4976-78, allows the Michigan Department of Treasury to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states to exempt raw forest products transported into another state within 30 miles of the border from the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).
These agreements for qualified vehicles on short hauls reduce workload and paperwork for state agencies, decrease burdensome regulation for businesses while remaining in compliance with state and federal laws, and help products move more efficiently through a larger offering of companies to work with.
“We should be cutting red tape for people who are trying to make a living in our state and our region – not doubling down on it,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “This industry is a major economic driver for the U.P. and this is a practical, common-sense update to our laws.”
Markkanen noted that other states such as Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota already have reciprocity laws – and the plan would allow the U.P. and the state to be competitive. Motor fuel taxes are charged and collected across every state and Canadian province in North America, with IFTA serving as the mechanism to streamline and equitably hash out taxes for interstate carriers. The Department of Treasury is responsible for operating the IFTA program in Michigan.
The Great Lakes Timber Professional Association has applauded Markkanen for his work on the plan. As the bills were being considered by the House Transportation Committee in October, foresters like Todd Penrose of Holli Forest Products in Ishpeming outlined the overly burdensome process of sending paperwork to the state for some trips that went less than 10 miles across the border. The practice bogs down both businesses and the state, Markkanen said, while creating additional costs.
The legislation now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
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