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LANSING, MI-Gov. John Engler has signed a law that amends the plant rehabilitation and industrial development act. The deadline for approval of an electric generating plant as industrial property for the purpose of a property tax abatement will be extended.

Also, the act will specify that the definition of industrial property would include a Federal Reserve Bank located in a city with a population of 750,000 or more.

Before, an electric generating plant that was not owned by a local unit of government could be considered industrial property if the local legislative body approved an application by June 30. The law changes that date to December 31, 2007.

According to a legislative analysis of the new law, abatements for electric generating plants will reduce local unit revenues by $8.4 million in 2002-03 and increase state school aid fund expenditures by $5.4 million. As more plants are constructed, the impact of the bill would rise, to a $47.8-million reduction in local unit revenues in 2006-07 and $30.7 million in increased school aid fund payments.

Also, a proposed new Federal Reserve Bank building in Downtown Detroit would qualify for a property tax abatement under this bill. If granted, this abatement would reduce property taxes by approximately $700,000 in the initial year of a potential 12-year abatement.

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