By State Rep. Tom Pearce
In 2003, the Legislature and the Governor came up with another novel idea to generate dollars for that year’s budget by instituting a lifetime registration and license plate for both private and commercial trailers in the state. They accomplished their goal of generating an additional $100 million dollars for that calendar year but it did not come without consequences. Prior to 2003, trailer registrations were generating $60 million annually for bridge and road projects throughout the state. These funds could also be used to match federal dollars producing $80 of federal money for every $20 the state spent. After the one-year peak in trailer registrations, we have seen an average of $30 million per year from this source of revenue. A significant reason for the drop is that businesses throughout the state that have to license multiple trailers have felt compelled to register them in other states rather than pay the significantly increased fee here in Michigan.
What if we could get the Governor and the legislature to agree to “grandfather” in anyone who purchased a lifetime plate and then institute a renewable registration that is competitive with surrounding states? It is estimated that we could generate as much as $20 million more annually by making this small change. We can do this without hurting anyone who had been promised a lifetime plate while encouraging businesses to keep as much of their operations as possible within the borders of our state. Also, this is critical at a time when we are trying to draw down all the federal matching dollars available. I have drafted a bill that will do just that and it is my hope that before I leave the legislature, this is something that I can get accomplished.
“Guardian of Small Business” Award
I am honored by the announcement that the Leadership Council of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) voted to recognize me as a 2010 NFIB “Guardian of Small Business.” The NFIB gives this award to Legislators whose voting record shows they have voted with small-business owners 100 percent of the time and have a solid understanding of the problems facing family businesses and their employees.
Plenty for area residents and visitors to do this fall
There are several family activities coming up in the next few weeks. The 34th annual Harvest Festival in Rockford starts the weekend of Sept. 24-26, and continues Oct. 2-3 and Oct. 9-10. Check out www.rockford.mi.us for more information on this and other great Rockford events. Also, the Cedar Springs 71st annual Red Flannel Festival starts the weekend of September 25-26 with the main festivities Oct. 1-2. Check http://www.redflannelfestival.org/www.redflannelfestival.org for all the details.
Michigan Public Service Commission to hold Consumer Information and Assistance Forum
The MPSC will host a local forum to give our state’s consumers information on electric and natural gas rates, as well as the status of local and long distance telephone service. Local utility providers and assistance organizations will also be present to investigate customer service issues and explore new energy assistance programs.
Our area forum will take place Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Greenville Community Center, located at 900 E. Kent Road. For more information, call 1-800-292-9555 or visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc.
Need help with your mortgage?
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Hope Now Alliance will host a “Help for Homeowners Community Event Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 1 to 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at DeVos Place, located at 303 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.
This is a free opportunity to meet one-on-one with your mortgage lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor. Also, you’ll be able to find out if you’re eligible for the federal government’s Making Home Affordable Program or other options from your lender.
Make sure you take the following documents if you’d like to participate in this event:
* Monthly mortgage statement;
* Information about other mortgages on your home, if applicable;
* Two most recent pay stubs, documentation of income you receive from other sources or most recent quarterly profit and loss statement if self-employed;
* Two most recent bank statements;
* Account balances and monthly payments for credit cards and other debts;
* Estimates of other monthly expenditures (such as utilities, insurance and medical bills).
For additional information on this event, visit http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov or www.HopeNow.com or call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
Also, visit www.LoanScamAlert.com, a free website that provides tips on how to avoid lending scams.