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      Lansing officials digging for answers on U.P. mine tax

      State officials from Lansing went before the Marquette County Board Tuesday night to explain a proposal for a controversial mine severance tax. It's a three percent tax that would affect the Kennecott Eagle nickel and copper mine and apply to similar mines in the future.

      The state geologist, deputy legal council to Governor Snyder, and the director of Michigan rural development all appeared before the board. Even after hearing their explanation of the tax, many board members expressed concern that the state undervalued the mine, and not all tax revenue would stay in Upper Michigan.

      "We have a chance now to bring in a little money to promote Marquette County. We work with the whole U.P.; we want to see the whole U.P. succeed, but these minerals are here and we have needs. To have some revenue, that's the main issue," said Marquette County Commissioner Gerry Corkin.

      At this time, there is no bill that has been introduced. Representatives are attempting to keep an open dialogue with the county board. The board also supported a resolution to monitor the air quality of Marquette County because of the mining operations.