The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and state legislative leaders recently unveiled a legislative package designed to further the NextEnergy initiative.LANSING, Michigan – May 14, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] NextEnergy is a comprehensive economic development plan to make Michigan a world leader in the research, development, commercialization and manufacture of alternative energy technologies. “When NextEnergy was unveiled, it was clear this plan must move forward in rapid fire motion to be successful,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the MEDC. “With the Legislature’s help, we can now begin the process of making Michigan the world’s headquarters for the alternative energy industry.” The legislative package will help to create a state authority to govern the NextEnergy Zone, a 700-acre area in York Township near Ann Arbor, and adopt state policies to spur the demand for NextEnergy technologies. Some of the specifics of the bills include: -Creating a state authority to promote the research and development of alternative energy technologies and related economic development in Michigan and to govern the NextEnergy Zone. -Allowing the Michigan Strategic Fund to designate one of the five floating Renaissance Zones as an Alternative Energy Zone. This zone will be called the NextEnergy Zone and have Renaissance Zone status for 20 years. -Enacting legislation that exempts from the sales tax any individual or business purchase of stationery and vehicular devices using alternative energy technologies with a sunset in 2012. -Enacting legislation that exempts from the use tax any individual or business purchase of stationery and vehicular devices using alternative energy technologies with a sunset in 2012. -Offering various Single Business Tax (SBT) exemptions including: -An SBT exemption for any company whose primary service or product is alternative energy technologies research, development or manufacturing. -A refundable SBT credit equal to the personal income tax generated by the payroll of companies located in the NextEnergy Zone. -Exempting from the personal property tax any company whose primary service or product is alternative energy technologies research, development or manufacturing until 2012. “The can-do attitude of the Legislature to move on these bills quickly is reflective of the imminent need for Michigan to stake our claim to alternative energy technologies,” said Rothwell. “Michigan has everything to lose and much to gain if we get out of the gate early and welcome this emerging industry. The NextEnergy plan opens the door to a whole new realm of tremendous opportunities for Michigan workers and the state’s economy.” The market for fuel cell products alone is expected to grow to an estimated US$95 billion by 2010. In addition, 200,000 Michigan jobs directly or indirectly tied to the engineering and manufacture of engines and transmissions are at-risk from the internal combustion engine to alternative energy power train transition.