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Issue 721 July 5, 2009
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Plan to Grow Michigan's Agriculture Industry

Legislation Would Increase Number of Agriculture Renaissance Zones

June 27, 2009       Leave a Comment
By: MyBayCity Staff

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State Representative Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City) has voted for passage of a plan to increase the number of Agriculture Renaissance Zones across the state. The move, which will expand the Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zones (APRZ) program, will bring additional jobs and economic development to one of Michigan's largest industries.

"Agriculture has shown tremendous growth in the last few years in Michigan, and we must continue to create and protect these jobs," said Mayes, former Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. "These targeted tax breaks have worked extremely well in bringing jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment to our state. With the economic troubles our state is experiencing, supporting this growing industry is the right thing to do."

The plan, which passed the House on a vote of 106-2, would increase the number of Agricultural Renaissance Zones from 30 to 40. The APRZ program, which was established in 2000, originally had a limit of 10 zones, and the success of the program has led to its continued expansion. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the APRZ program has generated 1,749 jobs and more than $750 million in new private capital investment since its inception.

APRZs are aimed at retaining or attracting food and agriculture processing to the state by exempting businesses from state and local taxes for a specified time frame.

"Businesses are looking to expand their operations to Michigan, and this plan will play a huge role in bringing them here," Mayes said. "I'm very pleased that we received support for this plan on both sides of the aisle, and I urge the Senate to move quickly to help bring new jobs and businesses to our state."

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