Senator Brandenburg District Update

Sen. Brandenburg supports bill to eliminate tax penalty for family inheriting property

When a homeowner dies, it can take some time for the estate to move through probate and for the house to be sold. Meanwhile, the property becomes subject to the 18-mill school operating tax after the end of the year in which the owner dies.

I recently supported Senate legislation that allows a family member, such as a child, sibling or spouse, who inherits a home to retain the Principal Residence Exemption for up to two years. During this time, the property is required to be for sale and can’t be occupied, leased or used for business purposes.

SB 78 provides fairness at a time when a greater tax burden would add more distress to grieving relatives.

 

Drive with care in work zones

As the road construction season starts, it’s a good time to focus on work zone safety. Last year in Michigan, there were more than 4,900 work zone crashes and 17 fatalities. Most of those crashes were preventable. When driving in a work zone, keep these tips by the Federal Highway Administration in mind:

  • Stay alert and minimize distractions;
  • Pay attention to the road and traffic around you;
  • Don’t tailgate;
  • Obey the posted speed limit; and
  • Expect the unexpected.

Motorists can check current and future road construction sites, active incidents and more on state highways at www.michigan.gov/midrive.
State parks honor veterans with fireworks-free Fourth of July

For the third year in a row, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and the DNR are working together to offer camping options for veterans and other visitors who prefer a quieter Independence Day holiday.

Over the July 1-4 weekend, 11 Michigan state parks and recreation areas will host a fireworks-free Fourth of July. Located farther away from traditional community firework displays, these parks are ideal camping locations for those wanting a quieter celebration. Find out more, including a list of participating state parks and how to make camping reservations, at www.michigan.gov/FireworksFreeFourth.

 

Pure Michigan

Whether you enjoy the great outdoors on the golf course or on the water, there’s no better place to enjoy warm weather than Michigan! The 2017 Pure Michigan Spring/Summer Travel Guide is now available and features summer fun all over our great state. This year’s publication includes articles on beach towns, downtowns, maritime history, wilderness parks, even food and craft beer destinations! Please call my office for a print copy or find it online at www.michigan.org.

Senator Brandenburg District Update

Senate bills accelerate “sales tax on the difference”

Buying a vehicle is a major investment for most people so saving money where possible helps make the purchase more affordable.

I recently supported Senate legislation to speed up the phase-in of sales tax relief when consumers trade in their car to buy a new one. Under Senate Bills 94 and 95, the current $500 annual increase in tax relief would apply through 2018 and then the tax value would:

  • Increase to $5,000 beginning Jan. 1, 2019; and
  • Increase each year by $1,000 beginning Jan. 1, 2020 until the value is capped at $14,000 in 2028.

The legislation improves a 2013 state law by making tax savings more substantial for car buyers and providing a quicker boost to the state economy.  Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy.

 

Sen. Brandenburg supports new law to license autism therapists

April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to gain a better understanding of the disorder. Approximately 50,000 individuals living in Michigan have autism spectrum disorder. Early, accurate diagnosis and appropriate therapy are vital to ensure children and others receive the services they need to improve their quality of life.

Senate legislation recently signed into law creates a professional license for autism therapists. Public Acts 403 and 404 of 2016 establish an occupational license for behavioral analysts and assistant behavioral analysts, and create a state board to oversee the profession. The licensure requirement will increase the state’s ability to attract and retain qualified providers, and make it easier for specialists to be reimbursed by insurance providers.

 

Website allows taxpayers to check on tax refund

Taxpayers can check on the status of their state income tax refund by going to www.michigan.gov/wheresmyrefund. E-filers can check two weeks from filing while paper-filers can check from four to six weeks after postmarking.

To ensure privacy and security, taxpayers need to provide their social security number, tax year, filing status and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or Total Household Resources (THR). The AGI is located on line 10 of the MI-1040; THR is found on line 33 of the MI-1040CR.

The Department of Treasury reports that in 2016, 3.7 million individual tax returns provided more than $1.8 billion in refunds.

 

Be prepared for severe weather

A Michigan spring can bring fast-changing weather conditions, including thunderstorms and the threat of tornadoes.

Sever Weather Awareness Week, held April 16-22 this year, encourages Michigan residents to prepare for any weather-related emergency. Visit www.michigan.gov/miready to find an information packet on tornado and thunderstorm safety, lightning safety, flood preparation and planning, even disaster preparedness for pets. The site also includes checklists for home and auto emergency preparedness.