Mining Tax Moved to Back Burner

The possible changes to the way Michigan taxes certain mining operations appear to be on the back burner until after the November election.

The Marquette County Board revisited the issue of a mining severance tax tonight.

The tax change from the current ad valorem system would affect the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine.

The head of the Michigan DNR told some of the county commissioners this afternoon that the state wants to know how any changes will affect the county before action is taken.

County Board Chair Debbie Pellow says she spoke with DNR Director Keith Creagh on the phone.

She says he told her the state is very interested in how the change would affect Marquette County and he says the state wants county-level officials to approve of any changes before they’re made.

Pellow also says she’s been told the legislature will not introduce a severance tax bill until after the November election.

The county board recently sent a letter to Governor Rick Snyder’s office requesting a meeting among all groups affected by the tax change.

The state says it won’t hold a meeting unless the county pays for an independent review to determine the amount of tax money local government units would need to keep pace with the amount the eagle mine would bring in under the current tax system.

The board has voted to pay for such a review.