12 July 2010

GOP Task Force Releases Plan to Expand Agriculture in Detroit

Crain's Detroit

A state House Republican task force has released recommendations on ways to boost Michigan agriculture, including in the city of Detroit.

The task force, which organized public meetings and tours throughout the state last summer, lays out policy and regulatory steps for the state to act upon.

In regards to Detroit, the task force calls for the state to assist the city in redeveloping abandoned property for agricultural purposes and to expand and develop tax-free agriculture renaissance zones for processing operations in the city.

The report also calls for the state to provide incentives for Detroit to adopt zoning changes that would create a lower tax rate for agriculture and to withhold a percentage of state revenue-sharing dollars if ordinance changes are not enacted.

Other recommendations include:

• Greater promotion, including “grown in Michigan” agriculture promotions in the state’s Pure Michigan tourism campaign.

• Providing the same tax incentives for innovative agricultural processes as those currently available to alternative energy ventures.

• Stronger support for Michigan’s horse racing industry, including promoting Michigan horse racing and its importance to the state’s economy and amending the composition of the Michigan Gaming Control Board to include horse industry representatives.

• Curriculum-oriented steps in high school and higher education.

• Improving and streamlining inspection and permitting processes within state government.

• Creating a section on the state’s Michigan Business One Stop website to provide information on food processing operations, permit requirements and financial assistance.

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