|Chatfield, left, Snyder, right|
By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)
House Republicans, led by Speaker Tom Leonard and his 2nd in command, State Rep. Lee Chatfield, have amended a proposal to repeal Michigan's income tax after strong objections from Gov. Snyder.
Previous legislation introduced by Chatfield would have reduced the income tax from 4.25% to 3.9% in 2018, with a .1% reduction every year after.
The amended legislation would bring the rate to 3.9% by 2021 and ends there, eliminating the eventual repeal.
The change still doesn't appease Gov. Snyder.
"I appreciate that House leadership took seriously my concerns about the long-term impact of the proposal, but I still have a billion dollars worth of concerns because there has been no plan presented as to how this will affect residents and their communities statewide," Snyder said in a statement.
"Half of a billion dollars will come due in 2019 and over one billion by 2022, years in which we have planned funding specifically to invest in modernizing our state's infrastructure. Improving our infrastructure shouldn't be postponed, and so I'd like to see a public plan as to how this will be paid for before I can lend my support to the new proposal," Snyder continued.
According to Jonathon Oosting of the Detroit News:
"The revised legislation would still leave more money in taxpayer pockets but reduce state revenues by $195 million in fiscal year 2018, $463 million in 2019, $780 million in 2020 and $1 billion in 2021, according to a fiscal analysis.
House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, and other supporters say the plan could stimulate the economy and fulfill a promise made in 2007 when then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm and state legislators raised the rate to 4.35 percent. The rate was frozen at 4.25 percent under Snyder.
Chatfield said he disagrees with the “pre-supposition” that tax cuts proposed by House Republicans would force significant spending cuts to higher education or other budget areas, arguing the policy would instead help create more jobs and economic activity.
“I think any day where we can provide tax relief to the people of our state is a good day, and it’s something we should celebrate,” he said."
Speaker Leonard clashed with Snyder after the original legislation prompted a rare, strongly worded statement from the Governor opposing the proposal.
Usually Snyder won't even comment on pending legislation, this time, he took to Facebook to blast it.
"In regard to Michigan House Bill 4001- which was passed out of committee today after only 90 minutes of discussion - I was disappointed to see this move so rapidly without giving longer and broader consideration to possible consequences," Snyder said. "This is an issue that requires thoughtful discussion with input from throughout the state. I hope the House will be more deliberate before taking a full vote. It's important that each representative has time to hear from their residents and allow them to weigh in before making a decision on a bill that will have statewide impacts for the next 40 years. I'd reiterate I have serious concerns about this bill. Republicans in Michigan have made tough choices over the past six years that have led to a tremendous comeback. We are on a very positive path toward our future and we can't afford to take a wrong turn now."
Leonard responded, saying, "I don't have time to worry about the Governor's Facebook posts. I'm more concerned about putting money back into the pockets of Michigan's hardworking families."
Snyder wasn't alone in his opposition to House Republicans and tax relief for Michigan families: Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof opposed the original proposal as well...
It's worth noting that the annual budget has increased by about $1 billion annually under Republican leadership since taking over in 2010.
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com