Mich. Fireworks Law Fizzles on Revenues

Monday, 10 Sep 2012 11:41 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Michigan's new consumer fireworks law has apparently fizzled and failed to provide the big bang in tax revenues this summer state officials had hoped for when they reversed a 45-year ban on the sale and use of airborne rockets and other fireworks products.
As of Aug. 31, fireworks companies had paid the state only about $2 million in licensing fees and just over $755,262 from a 6 percent safety fee leveled on sales, according to the Detroit News.
The state also collected nearly $514,000 in additional fees from small, temporary roadside selling points that popped up around the state after the law was passed.
But that was still a long way from what state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder had hoped for, with estimates ranging before the law passed from a minimum of $8 million to as much as $40 million that proponents of lifting the ban had claimed.
"I don't think it's the $40 million people have been throwing around," Allan Pohl, director of finance and administrative services at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, told the News when asked about the revenues. "I was not going to bet the farm on what they were saying."
William Weimer, vice president of Youngstown, Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, predicted that revenues would improve for Michigan over time, adding that even though expectations came up short the state still got money from fireworks it "had never seen before."
State Rep. Harold Haugh, who sponsored the fireworks legislation, also told the News the revenue numbers for the summer won't be complete until large-scale retailers actually finish submitting their third quarter taxes after September.

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