Michigan expands ag renaissance zones

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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Rep. Mike Simpson hailed the House passage of his plan, H.B. 5086, June 25 to increase the number of Agriculture Renaissance Zones.

The move, which will expand the Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zones program, will bring additional jobs and economic development to one of Michigan’s largest industries, said Simpson, chair of the House Agriculture Committee.

“With the economic crisis that we’re facing, it’s imperative that we work to attract the new businesses that will create jobs for mid-Michigan workers, such as companies like Honee Bear Canning and Gerber Products,” he added. “Agriculture is the only sector of our economy showing growth right now, and this plan will ensure that it continues to expand and create jobs.”

The program

Simpson’s plan, which passed the House 106-2, would increase the number of Agricultural Renaissance Zones from 30 to 40.

The program, which was established in 2000, originally had a limit of 10 zones, but the success of the program has led to the continued expansion of the program.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the program has generated 1,749 jobs and more than $750 million in new private capital investment since its inception.

The zones are aimed at retaining or attracting food and agriculture processing operations, such as Kellogg’s, to the state by exempting businesses from state and local taxes for a specified time frame.

Senate

Simpson expects the Senate will show similar support and act quickly on the legislation.

“My number one goal is bringing new businesses and jobs to mid-Michigan, and this is a proven program that does just that. Just like the SmartZone, the Agricultural Processing Renaissance Zones are the right thing to do for mid-Michigan.”

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