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Tax breaks deals falls apart amid Republican feud

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Republican Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican leadership in the State House and Senate outlined progress and sticking points.

Political intrigue is being blamed for the collapse of a deal for the state to offer big tax breaks to employers who bring a lot of jobs to Michigan.

An angry state House Republican leader abruptly canceled a vote Tuesday shortly before midnight on Governor Rick Snyder’s top priority for the Legislature’s spring and summer session. House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, accused the governor’s bargaining team of making side deals with Democrats and unions without informing GOP leaders.

“We believe that deals were cut that would undermine Republican caucus priorities and, as such, we need to know what these deals were before we proceed with this legislation,” he said.

The deals may have included promises to veto GOP bills related to union rights.

House Minority Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) says he’s not aware of any side deals, and Democrats were ready to vote.

“I do believe we should have taken a vote today because we were ready   to bring good jobs to Michigan. I’m looking forward to any continued conversation. I’m open to the speaker, the governor, anyone who wants to make this a priority.”

The governor’s spokesman says Snyder plans to meet with House and Senate leaders next week after he returns from an overseas trade trip.

“Well it sounds like the best thing now is for everyone to get some rest, so that the leaders can regroup next week with the governor to talk through any concerns they have, or get additional information they might need on how we move forward,” said Snyder Communications Director Ari Adler.

The controversial incentive would allow a select number of employers who bring hundreds or thousands of jobs that pay average or above-average wages to the state to keep a share of state income taxes that would normally be paid by their workers.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.