U.P. lawmakers team up on new bills

State lawmakers from the U.P. are working together to open up a new avenue for the U.P. economy to grow.

State Representatives Ed McBroom of Vulcan and John Kivela of Marquette have introduced a pair of bills to create an economic stimulus zone in the U.P.

Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba has introduced a similar bill into the state Senate.

The Next Michigan Development Act allowed for the creation of five such zones statewide two years ago.

All five zones are located below the bridge.

The new bills would allow for a new zone to be created in the U.P.

“This issue isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue,” Kivela said. “This is an upper Michigan issue, supporting jobs and supporting industry in the Upper Peninsula, and when you get all of us on board, working, good things can happen.”

The stimulus zones involve agreements between cities, townships and other government units.

The agreements allow the zones to offer business tax credits, property tax abatements and other incentives.

Dozens of U.P. entities are interested in a stimulus zone.

“I think it’s about forty; I’ve got copies of them in my office down in Lansing,” Kivela said. “I know some economic development establishments have gotten on board. I know businesses are excited about it, but the resolutions (of support for the concept) are primarily from the governing bodies.”

McBroom’s and Kivela’s House bills have been sent to the House Commerce Committee for review.

Casperson’s Senate version has been sent to the Senate Committee on Economic Development.