South Kent PAC Forms

October 8, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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KENTWOOD — A new political action committee, the South Kent Free Enterprise PAC, has been organized by the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce.

The new PAC's first official gathering recently featured a presentation by state Rep. Fulton Sheen on the Plainwell Republican's proposed Michigan Fair Tax law that would limit all Michigan taxation to a 9.5 percent sales tax.

Diane Zandstra, the 2007/2008 chair of the South Kent Free Enterprise PAC, said the first event was a fundraiser and also an opportunity "to let people know the PAC exists."

"We are just now getting our feet wet," said Zandstra, who is a partner and business development director at the West Michigan Center for Family Health.

Zandstra said the new PAC will provide a forum for people in business who have suggestions regarding taxation and other political issues that impact business.

"Our mission is to get information into the hands of business people, related to legislative issues that affect business," she said. "A healthy economic environment only happens when the businesses are healthy.

"Businesses have to monitor and watch very closely what their elected officials are doing," she added.

Zandstra said there may be 20 or more members of the PAC, although she was not sure of the exact count. Other members of the South Kent Free Enterprise PAC include Tommy Brann of Brann's Steakhouse and Grille, attorney Brent A. VanderKolk, and Tom Kruisenga of West Michigan Business Group, an employee benefits firm.

John Crawford, president and CEO of the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce, said many of the larger chambers in Michigan have PACs. The South Kent Free Enterprise PAC will study the political issues in the state and endorse positions that are "more business-friendly in Michigan." It will also serve as a vehicle for "small contributions" to political candidates.

House Joint Resolution L, Sheen's Michigan Fair Tax Proposal introduced in the Legislature in May by him and more than 30 other representatives, would eliminate the Michigan income tax and all state taxes imposed on business. Only final purchases by consumers, including acquisition of services, would be taxed, at a rate of 9.5 percent. All business-to-business transactions would be exempt.    

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