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Michigan House Moves Measure On Tax Reforms

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The Democratic-controlled Michigan House last week overwhelmingly approved a compromise school-finance and tax-reform proposal.

The "responsible tax-reform act of 1989," sponsored by the Republican Representatives Glenn Oxender and Michael Nye, now moves to the Republican-dominated Senate, where it is expected to come up for a vote late this week.

The compromise bill would raise the sales tax from 4 cents to 6 cents and reduce property taxes by an average of 11 percent for homeowners and 6 percent for businesses. The representatives estimate that it would increase state school aid from its current level of $503 million to $815 million by the 1993-94 school year.

Key Senate Republicans had said previously that any proposed constitutional amendment to reform the tax and finance systems would have to have the full support of the Democratic governor, James J. Blanchard, in order to succeed at the polls.

But Senator Dan DeGrow, chairman of the K-12 appropriations subcommittee, said last week that Republicans had changed their minds and were willing to bring the bill to the Senate floor.

"The education community is behind it, and I think they deserve the vote," he said. Mr. DeGrow added that at a meeting with Senate Republicans last week, Mr. Blanchard indicated he continued to support his own plan to lower property taxes and raise the sales tax from 4 cents to only 5 cents. A similar proposal was defeated by the legislature in December.

A spokesman for Representative Oxender said that the Governor had called the Republican's office on March 2 to congratulate him on the bill's passage. The spokesman, Rick Perry, acknowledged however that Mr. Blanchard "has not yet" committed himself to supporting the bill.--tm

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