State House adopts Markkanen log transporter fuel bill
A plan by State Representative Greg Markkanen helping small business owners in border communities on the state’s upper peninsula today was approved overwhelmingly in a vote by Michigan House.
Markkanen’s legislation, House Bills 4976-78, allows the Michigan Department of the Treasury to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states to exempt raw forest products transported to another state within 30 miles of the US border ‘International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).
These short-haul qualified vehicle agreements reduce workload and paperwork for state agencies, lessen burdensome regulations for businesses while remaining in compliance with state and federal laws, and help products keep up. move more efficiently thanks to a wider range of companies to work with.
“We should cut red tape for people trying to make a living in our state and region – without doubling the pressure,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “This industry is a major economic driver for the UP and it is a practical and sensible update to our laws.”
Markkanen noted that other states such as Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota already have reciprocity laws – and the plan would allow the UP and the state to be competitive. Fuel taxes are billed and collected in all Canadian states and provinces in North America, with IFTA serving as a mechanism to streamline and reduce taxes fairly for interstate carriers. The Department of the Treasury is responsible for operating the IFTA program in Michigan.
The Great Lakes Timber Professional Association commended Markkanen for his work on the plan. As the bills were considered by the House transport committee in October, foresters like Todd Penrose of Holli Forest Products in Ishpeming described the overly tedious process of sending documents to the state for some trips that took traveled less than 10 miles across the border. The practice is bogging down both business and the state, Markkanen said, while creating additional costs.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.