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      Big tax changes may be coming for small businesses

      Local and state leaders kicked off a campaign Thursday morning at Stromberg Carlson Products Inc. in Traverse City for a proposal that could impact local small businesses.

      The proposal reforms the Personal Property Tax - taking away the tax on personal business equipment.

      Michigan legislature removed the tax for most small businesses this past January, but if voters pass this proposal - the tax will be eliminated altogether in 2016.

      "To get rid of that cumbersome, and quite frankly just a big pain, the personal property tax," said Rep. Wayne Schmidt, the Republican representative of the 104th District. "Getting rid of that, making it a more fair and equitable system, it gives business consistency, reliability - what they want - allows them to invest in new equipment, and then in turn hire more people. And that's what we're seeing here in northern Michigan."

      Businesses who receive the tax reduction will pay an Essential Services Assessment which will go towards local schools, roads, and police and fire departments.

      "This proposal has bipartisan support, overwhelming bipartisan support. It doesn't matter, small or large manufacturer, republican or democrat, everyone wants Michigan's economy to strengthen," said Schmidt.

      "We're an assembly shop," stated Bob Brammer, President of Stromberg Carlson Products Inc. "I still have a lot of my grandpa's equipment that I pay tax on and always have. And what's important here is - there's enough money going out of my pocket to keep me from maybe investing in one more product line or one more upgrade to a product that makes me more competitive, insures that my jobs stay stable here in the community."

      Brammer said eliminating this tax will help him be more competitive with other companies in other states that already don't have it.

      The proposal will be on the August ballot.