The state of Michigan has nearly finished designating tax-free zones for tool and die shops, but firms that missed out may still have an opportunity to join.
The state created its Tool & Die Recovery Zone program in 2004, allowing struggling toolmakers to operate nearly tax free for up to 15 years. It limited the number of zones to 25, though, and had only six remaining slots at the beginning of 2006.
The state already is considering applications from individual firms and coalitions to fill out the zones, said Michael Shore, a spokesman for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
However, the state also is allowing companies to join pre-existing renaissance zones. It recently approved three steel die-making specialists to join the multicompany cooperatives United Tooling Coalition and the Berrien Tooling Coalition.
Companies must petition the coalitions to allow them to join and the coalition must request that the state open its ranks to the new firm, Shore said. Toolmakers also must have approval from local governments.
``This at least allows us to keep a window open for them,'' he said.
To qualify, a firm must be primarily a tool and die operation and have fewer than 75 employees.