LANSING — State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) spoke against House Bill 4895 during session in the Michigan House of Representatives today because it gives an unfair advantage to big-box retailers wanting a beer and wine license for their gas stations at the expense of smaller gas stations.
HB 4895 would essentially create a carve-out for big-box stores who operate fuel pumps in front of their larger stores. The bill allows for the use of the inventory of the large store to count toward the licensing requirements which allow the gas station to sell beer and wine. While at the same time smaller gas stations struggle to meet the $250,000 inventory requirement needed to sell beer and wine. By allowing gas stations associated with big-box stores to piggyback on the store’s inventory, this legislation is creating an unfair playing field by picking winners and losers in the market.
“This will hurt smaller gas stations, particularly in my U.P. communities where small, locally owned mom-and-pop stores already struggle against big-box stores to survive,” said Kivela. “Giving these big-box stores an unfair advantage could also drive some of the smaller gas stations out of business. That’s going to hurt my local governments who are already losing tax revenue when big-box stores use the ‘dark store’ argument to get the Michigan Tax Tribunal to lower their property taxes. This is a bad bill for my communities and small-business owners, and for similar communities and small businesses across Michigan, and that’s why I can’t support HB 4895.”