Letter: Brownfield tax credits revitalize areas

The column by Gloria Rivera on the Michigan Thrive brownfield redevelopment legislation (“Brownfield tax credits divert needed funds,” April 17) was inaccurate. As the spokesman for MIthrive, a coalition of more than 60 communities, local chambers and economic development organizations from across Michigan that have come together in support of this legislation, I wanted to set the record straight.

The Michigan Thrive Initiative is about transforming the largest and most challenging brownfield sites in Michigan – from contaminated industrial sites to abandoned commercial centers – into thriving areas. The legislation does not change the kind of sites that are eligible for brownfield TIF financing, it just strengthens the current tool we already have so that we can take on the most challenging projects that otherwise would never get done.

These sites are not generating any revenue today, and in many cases have sat vacant for decades. The Michigan Thrive legislation is a win-win. It makes redevelopment possible through the capture of a portion of the new tax revenue being generated – but only enough to make the project viable. Not a penny more. As a result, an eyesore gets transformed into a thriving area, and our cities and state get new tax revenue that they weren’t getting before. Indeed, every project has to prove that it will result in a net benefit to the state budget in order to be approved.

Local governments from all across Michigan support this legislation as a crucial tool that they need to take on the hardest and most important redevelopment projects in their communities. The Michigan Thrive Initiative is good for our environment and our economy, and key to revitalizing our communities.

Dan Austin, spokesman

MIthrive Coalition