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Gov. Rick Snyder ran into some skepticism during a Friday morning call-in show when he predicted a sharp drop in Michigan business taxes will create more jobs.
Snyder said during the Michigan Public Radio Network program that getting rid of the Michigan Business Tax while asking only a third of Michigan businesses to pay a corporate income tax was "a huge step forward." The tax change passed the Legislature Thursday and is headed for his signature.
Several callers asked pointed questions about how many jobs will be created by the tax cut, which is being paid for by raising taxes on individuals and cutting services. The tax cut will bring in $1 billion less than the MBT would have in the budget year that starts Oct. 1 and $1.7 billion less the following year.
While he couldn't provide a specific answer, the Republican governor said he expects businesses will hire more workers because they won't have to pay the tax. He also said the new tax will be less complicated, sending a message that Michigan is a good place to do business.
"We're going to be competitive in the Midwest, and that's where we need to be," Snyder said during the hour-long show. "It's not like we had a (tax) system that was working."
Snyder pledged during his 2010 campaign to cut business taxes and get rid of many existing tax exemptions to create a simpler, fairer system.
He has been criticized by some mayors for getting rid of tax credits that help draw businesses to aging cities, such as credits for restoring historic buildings or areas contaminated by previous industrial use.
"That's one of the areas we probably should have put more in the budget for," Snyder said, adding that he plans to set aside more money for those types of tax credits in the budget.
When one caller asked if Michigan wouldn't be better off with a part-time Legislature, the governor defended the job being done by the GOP-led House and Senate.
"A part-time Legislature wouldn't work right now because these guys are really working hard," he said.
The governor also said he wants to get legislation passed by the end of the year that will result in a new international bridge being built between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
Despite efforts by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge to stop the project so they can add more spans to the existing bridge, Snyder said the bridge he wants has the backing of large numbers of business owners in Michigan who recognize the need for a separate crossing.