Senate passes Marleau bills that would help keep auto show at Cobo Center

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LANSING—The state Senate has passed legislation to support the expansion and renovation of the facility that hosts the North American International Auto Show, part of the effort to keep the event in Detroit.

Sen. Jim Marleau, sponsor of Senate Bills 711 and 735, said that in 2009 the state implemented temporary sales tax and use tax exemptions for materials being used in the renovation of Cobo Center. Those exemptions expired in January of this year, but Marleau’s bills restore them through Jan. 1, 2016.

“As anyone who has gone to the North American International Auto Show the past two weeks can tell you, we in Detroit are blessed to host this event,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “It is simply the most important automobile trade show in the world, and it plays a significant role in the economy of the region. It is essential that we do what we can to keep the show here in Detroit.”

Marleau said that without an extension of the tax exemptions, the renovation materials will be subject to the sales or use tax at the normal 6 percent rate.

“While a significant amount of work has been done at Cobo Center since the exemption was implemented in 2009, the work has not been completed,” he said. “Those working on the project have asked that the exemptions be extended an additional two years. This is a reasonable step to help ensure the success of such a critical project.”

SBs 711 and 735 passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. The bills have been sent to the Michigan House for further consideration.

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