CHICAGO -- The Michigan House concurred yesterday with a Senate version of a bill that would allow six counties to put a local tax package to finance sports facilities or convention centers before voters.
The bill now goes to Gov. John Engler, who has not yet decided whether he will sign it, according to John Truscott, his spokesman.
"We're going to take a long, hard look at it," he said.
Last month, the House passed a bill that would allow Wayne County to place a 1% tax on hotel and motel rooms and restaurant meals and a 2% tax on rental cars on the March ballot. Revenues from the taxes would be used to back bonds for a new baseball stadium for the Tigers in Detroit, the county seat.
While the House amended the bill to include Muskegon County and its plans for a professional ice hockey facility, the Senate version gave four more counties -- Kent, Ingham, Washtenaw, and Oakland -- the ability to ask their voters to approve the same package of taxes.
The House concurred with that version in a 60-to-41 vote.
If the bill is signed into law, the Michigan Restaurant Association may challenge the constitutionality of the 1% tax on restaurant meals in court. The group has said it has a legal opinion that says the 1% tax violates the state constitution because it increases the sales tax above the constitutional limit of 4%. An attorney for Wayne County has argued that the tax package is made up of excise taxes that are allowed by the constitution.