Posts Tagged ‘Saginaw’

We all win by voting “YES” on Proposal 1!

Proposal 1 will make sure 100 percent of the estimated lost revenue will be reimbursed to communities when the Personal Property Tax (PPT) is eliminated.

Eliminating the PPT is expected to create up to 15,000 jobs and increase business investment by $450 million.

As you know, Proposal 1 would end the unfair and antiquated double tax (also known as the personal property tax) small businesses pay every year on the equipment they already own, while stabilizing funding for police, fire, jails, roads, schools, senior services and other important municipal services.

Business Leaders for Michigan recently produced a short, simple video explaining how Proposal 1 would benefit all of Michigan. Watch the new video here:

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce urges you to vote Yes on Proposal 1. Please share this information with your voting friends and acquaintances.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce was invited to join Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan State Police, Saginaw County and City Law Enforcement, Community Leaders and the Faith Community in a round table discussion to talk about continuing efforts to make Saginaw one of Michigan’s safest communities.

The invitation-only event allowed for candid discussion about the Secure City Initiatives that Governor Snyder implemented in the past two years, including Community Ventures, the Pathways to Potential, and increased presence in targeted areas by the Michigan State Police, as well as engaging the community with law enforcement and law enforcement with the community.
For its part, the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce fully supports the resources and focus that Governor Snyder, through his Office of Urban Initiatives, has placed on Saginaw. The Community Ventures Program in Saginaw focuses on getting the chronically unemployed into jobs and is Michigan’s most successful implementor of the program, moving over 300 people into the workforce. The Community Ventures Offices were originally housed at the Chamber, and we continue to work closely with Saginaw Future Inc. and Community Ventures to connect companies with the Community Ventures Program.

One of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce’s great members, Consumers Energy, has spearheaded an initiative called Light Up The City. Consumers employees, along with volunteers and community leaders are going door to door and replacing burnt-out porch lights with new, energy-efficient bulbs that not only save energy, but provide the light that dissuades wrong-doers.

All in all, we’re pleased to have participated in this important community meeting and will continue to work with our members, the governor and community leaders to make Saginaw a safe place where business can thrive.

Reform-Alert-Header-2014

On Feb. 10, the final regulations for the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions (also referred to as the “employer mandate”) under the Affordable Care Act were released by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of the Treasury.

These final regulations provide different types of safe harbors to employers in 2015, depending on the type of employer or plan offered. The triggers for the tax penalties also vary depending on the type and timing of the safe harbor option an employer may qualify for (and chooses to implement).

Key safe harbors for 2015 are outlined below:

Applicable large employers with 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees may not be subject to the employer mandate requirements until the first day of their 2016 plan year.

An applicable large employer is not subject to tax penalties for any calendar month in 2015 (and for the portion of the 2015 plan year that falls in 2016 if it has a non-calendar plan year) if it meets all three major requirements and certifies that it qualifies for this safe harbor:

  1. An applicable large employer has at least 50 and no more than 99 full-time equivalent employees during 2014 so that it meets the workforce size requirements.
  2. There are no reductions to an employer’s workforce size or overall hours of service between Feb. 9, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014.
    • However, reductions made due to “bona fide” business reasons are allowed. The regulations provide examples of “bona fide” reasons that include changes in the economic marketplace, sales of business divisions or other similar reasons.
  3. An applicable large employer must maintain the health coverage it previously offered between Feb. 9, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2015 (or on the last day of the 2015 plan year).

An employer will certify its eligibility requirements on designated IRS forms (1095-C for self-funded large employers and 1094-C for fully insured large employers) by Jan. 31, 2016. These forms have not yet been issued by the IRS.

Applicable large employers with calendar or non-calendar plan years and new employers may qualify for this safe harbor.

Percentage threshold to offer coverage is 70 percent for all applicable large employers

For all applicable large employers in 2015, including employers with 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees that do not qualify for the safe harbor described earlier, the employer will be liable for tax penalties only if:

  1. The applicable large employer does not offer coverage to at least 70 percent of full-time employees and their dependents (unless the employer qualifies for the 2015 safe harbor for dependent coverage described later in this alert), and at least one of the full-time employees receives a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage on a Marketplace (Exchange); or
  2. The applicable large employer offers coverage to at least 70 percent of full-time employees and their dependents (unless the employer qualifies for the 2015 safe harbor for dependent coverage), but at least one full-time employee still receives a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage on a marketplace.
    • This may occur because the employer did not offer coverage to that employee or because the coverage that was offered to that employee was either unaffordable to the employee or did not provide minimum value.

This percentage threshold only applies for 2015. The percentage of employees that must be offered coverage to limit employer mandate liability increases from 70 to 95 percent in 2016.

Change in 2015 tax penalty calculation for employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees

An employer with 100 or more full time equivalent employees during 2014 is still subject to the tax penalty in 2015 for not offering health coverage to at least 70 percent (will increase to 95 percent in 2016) of its full-time employees and their dependents. This means a tax penalty will be assessed if the employer (a) does not provide health coverage at all, or (b) the employer does not offer coverage to at least 70 percent of its full-time employees and at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit on the Marketplace.

For 2015, this tax penalty calculation is different. The tax penalty will be calculated by subtracting 80 full-time employees (instead of 30):

  • 2015: Annual penalty calculation is $2,000 x (number of full-time employees minus 80)
  • 2016: Annual penalty calculation is $2,000 x (number of full-time employees minus 30)

This safe harbor is only available for each calendar month in 2015 (and for any months that fall in 2016 for a 2015 plan year). For example, a group with a July 1 plan year would be able to use the tax penalty calculation above for July 2015 through June 2016.

Applicable large employers with non-calendar year plans

An applicable large employer may receive relief from tax penalties for any month prior to the first day of the 2015 plan year if it meets the following requirements:

  1. Maintained a non-calendar plan year as of Dec. 27, 2012 and not changed its plan year after this date to begin later.
  2. Meets one of the following three tests:
    1. offers affordable coverage meeting minimum value requirements to its eligible employees (under the terms of the non-calendar plan as of Feb. 9, 2014) by the first day of the 2015 plan year
    2. covered at least 25 percent of all employees on any date between Feb. 10, 2013 through Feb. 9, 2014, or offered coverage to at least 33 percent of all employees during the most recent open enrollment period ending before Feb. 9, 2014
    3. covered at least 33 percent of its full-time employees as of any date between Feb. 10, 2013 through Feb. 9, 2014, or offered coverage to at least 50 percent of full-time employees during the most recent open enrollment period ending before Feb. 9, 2014
  3. Offers coverage to at least at least 70 percent of full-time employees and their dependents (unless the employer qualifies for the 2015 safe harbor for dependent coverage) as of the first day of the 2015 plan year.

Note that the relief does not apply to employees also eligible for or covered under a calendar year plan offered by the applicable large employer.

Dependent coverage safe harbor

Another safe harbor is available for applicable large employers with 2015 plan years where dependent coverage:

  1. Is not offered,
  2. Does not meet minimal essential coverage requirements, or
  3. Is offered to some, but not all, dependents

This applies to employers that take steps during 2015 (or the 2015 plan year) to extend coverage to dependents that were previously not offered coverage during the 2013 and/or 2014 plan years. This is not an option for employers that offered, but then dropped, dependent coverage during the 2013 and/or 2014 plan years.

Under the employer mandate a dependent is a biological and/or adopted child of an employee who has not reached age 26. This excludes foster children and stepchildren (only for the employer mandate). It also excludes an employee’s spouse being considered as a dependent.

Points for clarification

The employer shared responsibility provision does not apply to employers with less than 50 full-time equivalent employees.

Employers affected by the employer mandate are encouraged to seek their own legal counsel as each employer’s situation will be unique to the type of safe harbor that an employer may qualify for.

More information can be found at:

Additional guidance is pending.

 

*Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is not responsible for the content or practices of the destination website.

The information in this document is based on preliminary review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. The federal government continues to issue guidance on how the provisions of national health reform should be interpreted and applied. The impact of these reforms on individual situations may vary. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law’s applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. As required by US Treasury Regulations, we also inform you that any tax information contained in this communication is not intended to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved $1.2 million in emergency dredging to re-open the Saginaw River to shipping. This year’s heavy spring rains sent sediment down the river and restricted shipping to and from businesses in Saginaw County and the Region. Prior to the excessive rain, the Saginaw River turning basin was in the best condition it has been in over 30 years. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that as a direct result of the recent flooding, the basin is once again filled with silt, to the point that it is closed to shipping traffic.

Dock owners, along with the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and Saginaw Future Inc., asked Congressional and State Legislative Delegations to support decisive action for emergency dredging. In addition, six State Department Heads encouraged immediate assistance and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance also supported the funding request. Quick assistance was needed, because the actual dredging could not take place until 60 days after approval by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are very appreciative of the Army Corps of Engineers decisive action to dredge the Saginaw River and reopen shipping to vital businesses in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said U.S. Senator Carl Levin. “Goods shipped on the river include coal that powers electric generators, cement and aggregate that is needed to complete the I-75 highway resurfacing project, and limestone, potash, grain and other raw materials to supply businesses along the river.”

There was a major concern that if the Saginaw River Basin was not reopened, the Region and the State could lose the river for commerce, much like the Missouri River was lost after large floods 10 years ago. The river is a major Michigan shipping route listed as the second busiest port for exports.

“The Saginaw River is a crucial part of our economic infrastructure and must be maintained,” said Michigan State Senator Roger Kahn. “The river is a unique asset that connects Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region to the rest of the world.”

The Corps of Engineers has already advertised the emergency dredging contract and are expecting to award the project on or before June 28, 2013, with the actual dredging starting in July.

Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce President Bob Van Deventer stated, “It was amazing how quickly leaders and organizations came together to support this much-needed project. We want to thank Senators Stabenow and Levin and Congressmen Kildee and Camp as well as our State Legislative Delegation, Senators Kahn, Moolenaar and Green and Representatives Cotter, Stamas, Kelly, Brunner and Erwin Oakes. Governor Rick Snyder, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance also provided much needed support.”

William G. Webber, President of Sargent Docks and member of the Saginaw River Alliance stated, “We are so grateful to the Saginaw Chamber and Saginaw Future for partnering with the Saginaw River Alliance to encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to award the emergency dredging funds. This could have been a disastrous outcome, but instead, we will be able to open the River to commerce once again.”

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has approved and announced endorsement positions for the upcoming November 6, 2012 elections.

 

The Chamber recommends the following actions on statewide ballot issues 12-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and the renewal of the eight year millage request for Delta College.

 

Ballot Proposal                                                                                             Chamber Endorses

12-1   Emergency Manager PA 4 Referendum………………………………… Vote YES

 

12-2   Amend the Constitution:

            Regarding Collective Bargaining…………………………………………… Vote NO

 

12-3   Amend the Constitution: to Establish A New

            Standard for Renewal Energy“25 by 2025”…………………………….. Vote NO

 

12-4   Amend the Constitution: to Establish The Michigan

            Quality Home Care Council and Provide Collective

            Bargaining for In-Home Health Care Workers…………………………. Vote NO

 

12-5   Amend the Constitution: to Require a 2/3 Majority Vote

            of House and Senate to Enact New Taxes by State Gov’t………….. Vote NO

 

12-6   Amend the Constitution:  Regarding Construction of

             International Bridges and Tunnels……………………………………….. Vote NO

 

 

Delta College Millage Renewal

            Eight Year $0.4864 per $1,000 millage renewal,

            continuing the current rate of funding for Delta College…………… Vote YES

 

Saginaw County Chamber President Bob VanDeventer

Saginaw Chamber President Bob Van Deventer stated,  “Our Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse a NO vote on each of the proposed amendments to our state’s constitution. We are against the attempt of special interest groups to embed public policy into Michigan’s constitution.”

 

Van Deventer also stated,  “We are in favor of reinstating Public Act 4 (Proposal 12-1), because this law more clearly defines the trigger points indicating financial stress within a municipality, allowing them to be considered for an Emergency Manager appointment by the Governor’s office. This law also provides more effective resources to the Emergency Manager to develop effective plans for recovery”.

 

County and State House of Representatives Candidates:

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce has completed a review and endorsement process for all County and State Representative candidates willing to participate. Each candidate was provided with a questionnaire that asked for the candidate’s viewpoints on difficult issues that impact residents and businesses in Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region. The questions asked the candidates for their positions on the statewide ballot issues in the November 6th election, recommendations they have for addressing Public Safety issues within Saginaw County, their positions on the issues of Prevailing Wage and Minimum Wage status in Michigan, and their recommendations for maintaining balanced budgets for the State and County.

 

The following list represents the Chamber’s endorsement position, based upon the candidates’ answers to the questionnaire and their personal interviews conducted by the Chamber’s Screening and Endorsement Committee. Because not all candidates elected to participate in the endorsement process, and some of the candidates are unopposed, the Chamber elected not to make endorsements in some of the races.

 

Candidates Endorsed

State House of Representatives

94th District…………………………. Tim Kelly (R)

95th District…………………………. No Endorsement

 

County Officials

Prosecutor…………………………. Matthew Frey (R)

County Clerk………………………. Susan Kaltenbach (D)

 

County Commissioner

District 1……………………………. Patrick Wurtzel (R)

District 2……………………………. Alex Boese (R)

District 3……………………………. Kirk Kilpatrick (R)

District 6……………………………. Ron Sholtz (R)

District 8……………………………. Dennis Kraft (R)

 

Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce LogoThe Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is a multi-faceted not for profit organization that is a coalition of approximately 900 businesses located in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan. Taking the leadership role in developing programs that initiate and implement economic development, quality of life, education, public sector, core city redevelopment, and crime prevention strategies, the Chamber also offers a large number of value added benefits and programs that help members make money and save money. We are the voice of business to local, state and federal legislators and provide pro-business impetus and support for legislation and planning.

Mission: The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce will be a catalyst for economic and community progress.

Vision: The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce vision is to foster a thriving Saginaw Valley within the Great Lakes Bay Region.