A group of Michigan business leaders last week launched a campaign to overhaul the state’s tax structure.

Business Leaders of Michigan, consisting of 75 chief executive officers of the state’s top companies, was formed earlier this year as legislators found themselves locked in another battle over the budget. The group met last week with lawmakers, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and the press to outline its agenda.

The coalition is pushing for a measure that would amount to a 50% cut in the business tax, replacing the lost revenue — estimated at $1.1 billion annually — by expanding the state’s sales tax to cover most services. The move would include trimming the sales tax to 5.5% from 6%.

The group said the move would be “revenue neutral” while stabilizing revenue for the budget and making the state more attractive to business.

“We’ve looked at a lot of options, what we’ve proposed we think is the best option,” Dave Joos, a member of the group’s executive committee and CMS Energy Corp. president and CEO, was quoted as saying in local media reports.

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