Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg’s bills to help Michigan taxpayers passes state legislature

I recently led an effort to preserve the personal exemption on state and local income taxes and to provide more tax relief for Michigan families.

While federal tax reform simplified the tax code and lowered tax rates, it effectively ended the federal personal exemption. Senate Bill 748 makes the necessary changes to ensure taxpayers can claim the personal exemption on their state income taxes and Senate Bill 750 does the same for city income taxes. As a bonus, our tax reform boosts the state personal exemption by $600 to $4,900 by 2021 to help taxpayers keep more of their own money.

The legislation has been approved by the Michigan House of Representatives and now awaits the governor’s signature.


Brandenburg supports legislation to eliminate driver responsibility fees

Driver responsibility fees were instituted in the Granholm era of 2003 as a way to deter dangerous or reckless driving, including driving with a suspended license.

The fees were in addition to other civil and criminal fines, amounting to a costly, double penalty. Many people have not been able to afford the fees, leading to a loss of their driver’s license and occasionally — because of the lack of transportation — their job. This also results in an accumulation of outstanding debt. The Department of Treasury recently estimated that 317,000 individuals owe more than $633 million in unpaid fines, much of that is regarded as uncollectable.

I recently supported a package of bills that would eliminate these unfair and ineffective fees on Oct. 1, 2018. Drivers on a payment plan would have their fees eliminated immediately. In addition, drivers who cannot pay their fees would be able to get their license back if they, instead, undergo a workforce training program. This legislation would help drivers get their license reinstated so they can get back to work.


Free tax preparation guides available

I am pleased to provide a free resource that may be helpful in filling out state income tax forms for the 2017 tax year.

Though not a substitute for the Michigan Department of Treasury tax instruction booklets, the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 provides useful information on Michigan’s individual income taxes, property taxes and tax credits. The publication includes copies of the most commonly used tax forms as well as a list of important property tax dates and deadlines and state tax agency tax assistance contact information. It’s important to note that the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 does not affect individual income taxes for 2017.

Please visit my website for a link to the tax guide or contact my office for a print copy.


OK2SAY: Michigan’s student safety program

Michigan’s OK2SAY student safety program enables students, parents, teachers, friends and others to confidentially report anything they feel threatens their safety or the safety of others. Tips can be submitted by email at, telephone at 855-565-2729 (8-555-OK2SAY), text message at 652729 (OK2SAY) or online at A mobile app is available through Google Play and iTunes. More than 11,000 tips have been received since the program launched in September 2014. Most tips reported suicide threats, bullying, assault, self-harm and drugs.