Tools Available to Improve Internet Service

March 18, 2010

Soon local residents can go online to check the speed of their broadband or to report service unavailability at their home.

At the beginning of April, in an effort to better connect Michigan, residents will be able to check which broadband providers service their home. By identifying gaps in broadband service across the state, providers will be able to identify new markets in which to offer coverage.

You can go to http://connectmi.org/ to check if your broadband service is running at the speed you pay for or to report if you aren’t receiving service.

Technology infrastructure is necessary to grow jobs and attract job providers. Michigan is leading the nation in establishing a complete broadband map, allowing families to identify options at their home and encouraging companies to provide better coverage statewide.

The project was set up by the Michigan Public Service Commission with federal funding to complete broadband mapping across our state. The goal is to establish a complete map of providers, helping to increase coverage in underserved areas and increase service competition. I urge all southwest Michigan residents to participate as we can all benefit from faster internet access and increased provider competition.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on these important issues.

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Small Businesses are Key to Michigan Job Growth

March 4, 2010

Small firms represent about 99.7 percent of all job providers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, employing about half of all private sector employees and generating 60 percent to 80 percent of new jobs annually over the last decade. Small businesses play a very large role in our economy, and if we want to stabilize jobs across Michigan, we must help them grow.

Under the Michigan Business Tax, most companies pay a 4.95 percent business income tax, an .08 percent gross receipts tax and a 21.99 percent surcharge on their pre-credit liability unless they qualify for the small business tax credit which drops the income tax portion to 1.8 percent. Unfortunately, many small businesses fail to qualify because total compensation to all owners or officers can’t exceed the $180,000 limit.

I’m working on legislation that reduces the tax burden on small businesses and stimulates job growth by: increasing the small business credit income disqualifier to $250,000; allowing small businesses to claim the MBT compensation, research and development and investment tax credits after the small business credit; giving tax-free status to new businesses that have yet to turn a profit during the critical start-up period; and exempting employee compensation, including benefits, from taxation under the MBT.

Government doesn’t create jobs, but this legislation is designed to remove disincentives to entrepreneurialism that exist under current law. I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to help give existing and potential Michigan businesses a break.

House Bills 5793-5796 are before the House Tax Policy Committee for consideration.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on these important issues.