Senate approves Richardville SmartZone legislation to increase economic development opportunities in Michigan communities
LANSING-The Senate today unanimously approved legislation that would allow more Michigan communities to take advantage of SmartZones for economic growth opportunities, said Sen. Randy Richardville, sponsor of the measure.
"SmartZones focus on growing technology-based firms, which are a critical part of diversifying and strengthening Michigan's economy," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "This legislation is very important for struggling Michigan communities. I worked with House and Senate lawmakers to reach a bipartisan agreement and remove barriers that would prevent the bills from moving through the legislative process."
Senate Bill 1203, sponsored by Richardville, would allow three existing SmartZones to join with another municipality to extend the zones to provide greater access to business incubators during this time of limited state funding.
The Senate also passed House Bill 5609 that will create three SmartZones. The bill contains a Richardville amendment requiring the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to provide approval for the new zones one year earlier.
Representing Grass Lake, Leoni, Norvell, and Summit townships in Jackson County, Richardville has been working with residents and businesses in Jackson to help secure one of the zones.
"Like many Michigan communities, Jackson is suffering from job loss and business closures," Richardville said. "I have been communicating with area residents to determine how a SmartZone designation could help out the community. With access to high-tech employers, institutions of higher education, and strong support from business leaders, Jackson is a great choice for a SmartZone."
SmartZones are areas where business and school taxes can be captured to help pay for public infrastructure improvements.
The bill will now go to the House for consideration.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2008
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