**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Casperson welcomes Pastor Scott Breault to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, proudly welcomed Pastor Scott Breault (right) and his wife Angie to the Michigan Senate on Wednesday. Breault serves as worship, creative and media pastor at the New Life Assembly of God Church in Escanaba and delivered the invocation before the start of Senate session.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of this photograph is available by clicking on the above image or by visiting www.SenatorTomCasperson.com/Photowire.

Casperson bill would designate part of US-8 as the ‘Medio J. Bacco Memorial Highway’

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday heard testimony on Sen. Tom Casperson’s legislation to honor the life of an influential and innovative member of Michigan’s road-building industry.

“Medio Bacco was a pioneer in concrete highway paving and road building in Michigan who literally helped build our state and improve his community,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “This is about honoring a man who lived the American dream and exemplified the hardworking spirit of the U.P. and our entire state. He immigrated to this country as s child, started from nothing, and became a successful citizen and entrepreneur. It’s a record to be proud of and celebrate.”

Former Rep. Ed McBroom testified in support of the bill and highlighted Bacco’s leadership in the road-building industry and his commitment to his community.

“This memorial not only serves to honor a major contributor to the UP but by choosing this stretch of road, US-8, we help keep alive interesting and important history. This was not only Medio’s first paving project at just 21 years of age, it was the first section of paved highway in the UP,” McBroom said.

Bacco went on to follow his successful project on US-8 to found the Bacco Inc., still operating in Iron Mountain, and doing construction projects across Michigan and the Midwest. Bacco was a leader who gave back to his community, helped to finance the construction of the St. Mary and St. Joseph Church in Iron Mountain, served on the Iron Mountain School Board for eight years and donated $90,000 to the Iron Mountain School District, establishing a scholarship for Michigan Technological University.

Senate Bill 577 would designate a portion of US-8 from the Michigan-Wisconsin border to the intersection with US-2 in the city of Norway as the “Medio J. Bacco Memorial Highway.”

The bill would have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. Under state law, the Michigan Department of Transportation can place markers indicating the name of a memorial highway only “when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining those markers.”

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorTomCasperson.com/Photowire.

Casperson welcomes Escanaba officials to Capitol for ‘dark store’ case in Michigan Supreme Court

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Tom Casperson welcomed officials from the city of Escanaba to the Michigan Capitol on Thursday as the city makes its case in the Michigan Supreme Court against the so-called “dark store” loophole.

“It is a matter of fundamental fairness that big box stores are treated the same as small, locally owned stores,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “It was an honor to welcome Mayor Tall and all the officials from Escanaba to the Capitol and recognize them during Senate session. I applaud them for their efforts in prosecuting this case to end the dark store loophole and ensure fairness for all local property owners, and I am hopeful the Supreme Court will affirm the Michigan Court of Appeals decision that saw the inequity of this practice.”

Escanaba is challenging the ability of a home improvement chain store to use a “dark store” loophole to reduce its property taxes. The loophole enables big box stores to appeal their property tax assessment to the Michigan Tax Tribunal that can then use the value of nearby vacant stores to determine the assessment, which adversely and unfairly impacts revenues to fund schools, libraries, programs for seniors, public safety departments and public transit agencies.

Casperson has introduced legislation to address the loophole issue.

Senate Bill 578 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorTomCasperson.com/Photowire.