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"Michigan municipalities would be prohibited from levying local taxes on food and beverages under a bill advancing to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for his expected signature. No local government in Michigan is now considering such a tax. But lawmakers say it is possible, pointing to Philadelphia and Chicago as places with soda taxes. Similar taxes have been approved in San Francisco and Oakland, California. The Republican-led Michigan Senate voted 30-5 Thursday to send the fast-tracked legislation to the governor. The Chicago-area’s penny-per-ounce tax on soda and sweetened drinks was repealed Wednesday after a months-long conflict that included a court battle and millions of dollars’ worth of television ads on both sides. Michigan generally exempts food, food ingredients and drinks sold at grocery stores from the state sales tax. The tax is applied to food and beverages prepared by restaurants. The state has separate excise taxes on beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes. The Senate bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Peter MacGregor of Rockford, said local soda taxes are “a revenue grab” and he wants to make sure no Michigan counties and cities follow suit to “destroy local economies” and “hurt a huge segment of our population.”...Some Democrats voted against the legislation. Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor said it would have “absolutely zero immediate practical impact” since no local governments are proposing such a tax. Municipalities are struggling to address infrastructure needs and unfunded retiree pension and health care liabilities, she said. “We should be working together … to give our local communities the tools to strengthen municipal finance because standing here to take one more tool away just puts them in an even tougher position,” Warren said."

Posted October 12th, 2017
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