MacGregor bill would add Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund tax checkoff

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan taxpayers would be able to donate a portion of their tax return to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund next year under legislation introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor on Tuesday.

“The Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund was created to serve some of Michigan’s most vulnerable,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “This bill would provide the scholarship trust fund with another source of much-needed revenue so more foster youth can attend college. It would also make it easier for residents to show their support by donating a portion of their tax return with a simple checkbox.”

Senate Bill 543 would add the fund to the Michigan Voluntary Contributions Schedule, which allows up to 10 organizations to be listed on tax forms. The Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund would become the tenth.

The fund provides eligible foster youth with scholarships to assist with tuition, room and board and other costs associated with enrollment. Scholarships are available for students enrolled in Michigan degree-granting colleges and universities.

There are approximately 13,000 children in the Michigan foster care system at any given time. Seventy percent of the teens who emancipate from foster care report that they want to attend college, but fewer than 10 percent who graduate from high school ever enroll in college. A growing number of Michigan youth are reaching adult age while in foster care and have no resources to attend college when they age out of the system.

The requirements for an organization to be considered for the voluntary contributions schedule include:

  • Capability of raising at least $50,000;
  • Serves multiple regions throughout the state;
  • Spends at least 30 percent of its budget on administration and fund raising;
  • Previously included on the list within the past three years and was removed due to lack of contributions;
  • Receives state funding or financial assistance; and
  • Is associated with a nonprofit.

The fund would remain on the voluntary contributions schedule until its designation expires or if it does not receive at least $50,000 in donations for two consecutive years.

A companion measure, SB 544, sponsored by Sen. Marty Knollenberg, would provide the technical language to direct the state Department of Treasury to issue donations to the fund.

SBs 543 and 544 have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

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Senate adopts MacGregor resolution establishing Michigan Hunger Solutions Day

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. – The state Senate on Wednesday approved a resolution declaring Oct. 21, 2015 as Michigan Hunger Solutions Day.

“Too many Michiganders struggle with hunger, and one-fifth of children in our state do not receive healthy, nutritious food consistently,” said sponsor Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Michigan Hunger Solutions Day brings attention to these glaring statistics and recognizes efforts in all 83 counties to decrease instances of hunger and promote abundant, healthy food options for individuals, families and communities throughout Michigan.”

Senate Resolution 97 highlights the Food Bank Council of Michigan for its mission to create a food-secure state through advocacy, resource management, and collaboration through Michigan’s unified food bank network.

The network of food banks distributes food and resources to food pantries, after-school programs and senior centers. It also organizes surplus donations from Michigan farmers to help make fresh, nutritious produce more readily available in the emergency food system. In addition, the council coordinates the Michigan Harvest Gathering food and fund drive, which has secured more than 54 million meals since 1991.

“It is terrible that in 2015 Michiganders are fighting hunger on a daily basis,” said MacGregor. “We should all be committed to ending this problem and work to increase access to nutritious food through the many great programs and food distribution services available in our state.”

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MacGregor to chair new Senate Oversight Committee

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof on Thursday appointed Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, chairman of the Senate’s newly formed Oversight Committee.

“I have the highest regard for Senator MacGregor as a legislator and a colleague,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “I am confident he will use this new chairmanship as an opportunity to ensure accountability for our taxpayers.”

The Oversight Committee was formed Thursday upon the adoption of Senate Resolution 91. Meekhof said the committee will initially be charged with investigating Planned Parenthood’s Michigan operation.

“I thank Majority Leader Meekhof for entrusting me with chairing the Senate Oversight Committee,” MacGregor said. “I take this charge very seriously and will do my best as chairman to fulfill the committee’s obligations as we strive to make state government more open, transparent and accountable to the residents of Michigan.”

In addition to MacGregor, members of the committee include Majority Vice Chair Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake; Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland; and Minority Vice Chair Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield.

The committee’s meeting location and time will be determined at a later date.

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Sen. MacGregor welcomes the Rev. Mark Pietscher to state Capitol to lead invocation

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, (right) is pictured with the Rev. Mark Pietscher on Thursday in the Senate chamber. Pietscher, who serves the Bella Vista Church in Rockford, delivered the invocation before Senate session.

Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorPeterMacGregor.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

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MacGregor comments on White Pine Trail meeting with DNR

PLAINFIELD TWP., Mich. — State Sen. Peter MacGregor issued the following statement Wednesday evening, following an informational meeting with representatives of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and members of the public about a planned work project to surface sections of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park.

“I thank the DNR for agreeing to participate in tonight’s informational meeting with west Michigan residents on the department’s plan to surface sections of the White Pine Trail,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Inviting members of the public to come and hear a detailed presentation from the department, and to offer up questions of their own, was very beneficial and something that probably should have happened sooner. I believe it is important, when considering a project like this, to gather feedback from the people who use and maintain the trail.”

The project would surface trail sections with crushed limestone from LeRoy to Reed City and from Big Rapids to Sand Lake. The DNR agreed to temporarily delay the project at the request of MacGregor and area legislators who reached out to the department on behalf of concerned residents, requesting tonight’s meeting.

The 92-mile-long trail runs from Cadillac to Comstock Park and features natural ballast and hard packed gravel, with 13 miles of asphalt pavement from Reed City to Big Rapids and seven miles of asphalt pavement from Rockford to Belmont.

For more information about the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, visit the DNR website.

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Senate panel moves to repeal MI’s prevailing wage

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Republican legislation to repeal Michigan’s outdated prevailing wage law and help schools and communities save money was approved by the Michigan Competitiveness Committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, sponsored one of the bills in the three-bill package.

“Repealing Michigan’s prevailing wage law is good for the economy, encourages competition and job creation, and, importantly, will help keep more tax dollars in the classroom,” said MacGregor. “This is yet another smart reform that will help foster a modern, 21st century economy and continue Michigan’s comeback.”

The existing prevailing wage law requires all construction firms at state-funded worksites to pay employees union scale wages, which costs taxpayers, schools and local communities more money than would allowing the construction market as a whole to determine wages.

Senate Bills 1-3 repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, remove the law from the list of applicable laws that public schools must follow, and remove the requirement that public economic development corporations adhere to the prevailing wage law when determining project wages and benefits.

“It simply does not make sense for taxpayer-funded construction projects to cost more than others for no other reason than the government says so,” MacGregor said.

SBs 1-3 now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

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Sen. MacGregor committed to finding long-term solution to fixing Michigan roads, bridges

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to Proposal 1 not being passed:

“Michigan voters decided not to approve Proposal 1. While voters ultimately did not agree that this was a good way to fix our state’s roads and bridges, everyone can agree that our roads and bridges are bad and getting worse.

“Despite Proposal 1’s failure, the problem remains and something must be done. Now, lawmakers will go back to the drawing board, and I am eager to work with my colleagues to come up with an agreeable, long-lasting solution to this very real problem.”

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Sen. MacGregor welcomes state champion Wyoming Godwin Heights Wolverines to Capitol


LANSING, Mich. — The 2015 Michigan High School Athletic Association Class B state champion boys basketball team from Wyoming Godwin Heights High School was honored with a special tribute by state Sen. Peter MacGregor on Thursday.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment for a fine group of young men,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Despite years of success on the hardwood, this is the school’s first basketball state championship. Achieving this level of success is no small measure, and this team overcame adversity this year with heart, teamwork and dedication to reach the top. On behalf of the residents of the 28th Senate District, congratulations on a great season.”

The Wolverines defeated the team of Detroit Henry Ford High School 85-68 on March 28 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

A print-quality version of this photo is available by clicking on the above image or by visiting the senator’s website at SenatorPeterMacgregor.com and clicking the Photowire link under the Media Center tab.

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Senate subcommittee approves MacGregor’s human services budget

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Human Services (DHS) budget on Thursday, said Chairman Sen. Peter MacGregor.

“This is a fiscally responsible budget with strategic investments and smart reforms and reductions that reflects the Senate recommendations for the Department of Human Services,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford, the sponsor of Senate Bill 124. “Over the next couple months, we will work with the House of Representatives and the governor to put together a final budget through the conference committee process.

“I am confident this budget will help the department achieve its goals of helping Michigan residents meet their financial, medical and social service needs by putting people first so they can more quickly become self-sufficient and successful.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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Senate Finance Committee approves MacGregor’s cloud computing tax exemption bill

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Peter MacGregor exempting Internet-based software services from state sales and use tax was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.

“Simply put, the state of Michigan should not be taxing the services provided by these Internet-based companies,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “By enacting this legislation, we will create certainty and predictability for job providers in our state, which will encourage technology companies to locate and grow in Michigan.”

In the software as a service (SaaS) model, which can also be referred to as cloud computing, software is not sold or distributed physically. Instead, SaaS involves a provider using its own hardware and proprietary software to provide a service to customers using their own hardware remotely. Unlike the legacy distribution model, the SaaS licensing model differs in that a perpetual one-time license fee has been replaced by a subscription model.

For the end user, this means that, for example, in order to use Citrix’s GoToMeeting video conference software or Microsoft’s Office 365 services or Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, a person must be a subscriber in order to access and use the software.

Currently the state’s sales and use tax applies to prewritten computer software (tangible goods) but does not apply to these services. This legislation, therefore, clarifies that granting the right to use prewritten software installed on remote servers is not subject to the state’s sales and use tax.

Senate Bill 82 and its companion, SB 83, sponsored by Sen. John Proos, now go to the full Senate for consideration.

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