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 — Senate Republican legislation to repeal Michigan’s outdated prevailing wage law and help schools and communities save money was approved by the Michigan Competitiveness Committee on Wednesday.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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Senate passes expansion of successful jobs training program

LANSING—The Michigan Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would expand the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP), a successful statewide initiative established in 2008 to promote job growth and provide skilled training to workers through local community colleges.

The MNJTP lets community colleges statewide create a training pool through flexible financing mechanisms to support employers who are creating jobs or expanding operations in Michigan. Senate Bills 69–71 would remove certain technical restrictions to allow the program to grow.

“The Michigan New Jobs Training Program has been a great success, producing nearly 12,000 new jobs since its inception,” said the sponsor of SB 71, Senate Education Committee Chair Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “The program brings together educators, students eager to be trained for skilled jobs, and employers looking to hire. This package of bills will remove some of the program’s arbitrary restrictions and maximize its job-creation potential.”

Under the program, training for newly hired workers is paid by capturing the state income tax associated with the new employees’ wages and redirecting it to a local college, instead of to the state. These new jobs must pay at least 175 percent of the state minimum wage in effect at the time the agreement is entered into. Once the training costs are paid off, the new employee’s income tax withholding will go to the state and become state revenue.

“The Michigan New Jobs Training Program has done a great job helping job providers collaborate with community colleges to create training programs that connect today’s students with tomorrow’s jobs,” said Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, sponsor of SB 69. “This legislation improves the program by allowing more colleges to participate in the future and by ensuring graduates receive a competitive wage when they enter the workforce.”

The MNJTP generated more than $76 million in additional earnings and 2,266 new jobs in 2012 alone, according to a report issued in 2013 by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG), an independent economic research and consulting firm based in East Lansing. Going forward, the AEG study projects the MNJTP annually to generate $143 million in additional earnings and more than 4,700 jobs.

“This collaborative program between community colleges and businesses has shown great success in preparing workers for jobs that companies are waiting to fill,” said Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, who sponsored Senate Bill 70. “These bills will ensure community colleges are able to participate and train workers going forward by eliminating a previously established cap in the existing law. Doing so will mean fewer companies will be waiting for qualified employees.”

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) is one of the schools taking part in the program. The college has partnerships with SMR Automotive of Marysville, Grace Engineering of Memphis and Eissmann Automotive of Port Huron.

Dr. Kevin Pollock, president of SC4, testified last week before the Senate Education Committee about the value of the program to St. Clair County and the Thumb region. He touted the program’s direct benefits, including 189 eligible new jobs resulting from MNJTP agreements with SMR Automotive, Grace Engineering, and Eissmann Automotive.

“Not only does this program help create jobs, it also provides superior training for employees,” Pollock said. “This targeted training eliminates the skills gap by providing employees with the precise skills they need to match employers’ needs. In addition, the program’s emphasis on local involvement helps educators and employers work together to benefit their communities.”

In the past, representatives of Northwestern Michigan College and General Motors Co. have testified before the Education Committee in support of the MNJTP, as have Magna International Inc. CEO Frank Ervin and SMR Automotive’s Marysville facility Managing Director Sai Tatineni.

The committee has also heard from WABCO North America, a tier-one automotive supplier in Rochester Hills that partners with Oakland County Community College, and Johnson Controls of Holland, which holds an MNJTP contract with Grand Rapids Community College.

Senate Bills 69–71 have been sent to the Michigan House for further consideration.

Sen. MacGregor remarks on governor’s 2016 budget plan

Senator Peter MacGregor

Senator Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement after Gov. Rick Snyder presented his Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal Wednesday at a joint hearing of the Senate and House Appropriations committees:

“Michigan’s remarkable economic comeback over the past four years shows no signs of stopping, but despite our state’s growth, we are facing a significant budgetary shortfall this coming fiscal year. While the state’s General Fund has a deficit largely due to business tax credits carried over from the previous administration that are now being used, the School Aid Fund remains strong and is growing.

“I appreciate that Gov. Snyder’s budget proposal reflects and addresses this shortcoming through mindful reductions and reforms rather than achieving a balanced budget on the backs of our hardworking families. As chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Human Services, though, I am aware of the potential impact that the deficit could have on residents, and particularly on those vulnerable citizens who rely on state assistance. The newly announced Michigan Department of Health and Human Services could help in this effort to better serve residents more efficiently and effectively, and it may reduce any budgetary impact.

“I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and the governor’s administration as we begin the budget process. I am confident that Michigan will have a balanced budget in place that resolves our current shortfall, protects education and vital services, and helps make Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

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Sen. MacGregor reacts to State of the State address

Senator Peter MacGregor

Senator Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2015 State of the State address:

“I campaigned on a pledge to right-size state government and make it more effective and efficient. The governor’s announcement that he will combine the departments of Human Services and Community Health is a positive step in the right direction. By being proactive and addressing problems at their roots, rather than being reactive and chasing symptoms, we can help achieve these goals and improve the quality and delivery of services.

“I also appreciate that the governor continues to focus on education and improving our economy. Ensuring students are as prepared as possible to face an ever-changing workforce is key, and I think the governor’s efforts to link business needs with educational training, workforce development and skilled trades training is commendable.

“Jobs are a top priority, and while we have seen a vast improvement in terms of jobs created and a reduction in the rate of unemployment over the past four years, our state’s comeback is far from assured. Despite these accomplishments, we are again facing a budgetary shortfall and state government must continue the hard work of living within its means, as every Michigan family continues to do.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and House, and with the governor, to continue the vital work of fixing Michigan.”

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