Gov. Snyder signs Michigan tax relief into law

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday signed into law Senate Bill 748, which will maintain Michigan’s personal exemption for income tax and will raise the personal exemption amount by $600 gradually through 2021.

“I’m glad our state’s leadership was able to help Michigan families keep more of their hard-earned money,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township. “Just about everyone takes a personal exemption, so this type of tax relief will benefit almost all Michigan taxpayers.”

Michigan’s current state income tax law ties Michigan’s personal exemptions to the federal number of exemptions. Without a revision to the law, Michigan taxpayers no longer would have been able to claim the personal exemptions on their state taxes and would have owed an additional $1.5 billion statewide.

In addition to maintaining the state’s personal exemption, Brandenburg’s bill also increases the exemption amount by $600 to $4,900 by 2021, while remaining tied to inflation. Currently, the state personal tax exemption is only scheduled to increase from $4,000 to $4,300 over the next three years.

“Tax relief is something I’ve been working for since I came to Lansing fifteen years ago,” Brandenburg said. “I know how paralyzing high taxes can be to Michigan families trying to keep a balanced budget. Lower taxes give people the freedom to spend money on more of the things they need, or to save money for more of the things they want. It’s not just a platform issue; lower taxes means meaningful relief to Michigan families.”

“On a personal note, it was especially gratifying to see SB 748 voted out of the Senate Finance Committee, which I chair, and out of the Senate unanimously.”

Snyder held a press conference for the signing of the bill.

 

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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 OK2SAY@mi.gov, telephone at 855-565-2729 (8-555-OK2SAY), text message at 652729 (OK2SAY) or online at OK2SAY.com. 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.

Brandenburg’s Michigan tax relief bill heads to governor

Sen. Jack Brandenburg

Sen. Jack Brandenburg

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Jack Brandenburg that would restore the Michigan personal tax exemption lost in the recent federal tax reform and would reduce income taxes overall for Michigan families.

Senate Bill 748 avoids a tax hike on Michigan families of nearly $1.5 billion by maintaining the state’s personal exemption. It also increases the exemption by $600 through 2021 for a total of $4,900 that year. The deduction would then remain tied to inflation. Currently, the state personal tax exemption is only scheduled to increase from $4,000 to $4,300 over the next three years.

“This is a huge win for Michigan taxpayers,” said Brandenburg. “It’s been more than 20 years since we’ve seen any significant tax relief, so clearly this is long overdue.”

Michigan’s current state income tax law ties Michigan’s personal exemptions to the federal number of exemptions. Without a revision to the law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim the personal exemptions on their state taxes. Once fully phased-in, the relief will mean Michigan income tax savings of more than $150 per year for a family of four.

“Tax relief is something that I’ve been working on since I came to Lansing fifteen years ago,” Brandenburg said. “My Republican colleagues and I made some tremendous economic improvements in that time, but this is one of the bills I’m most proud of because it directly makes people’s wallets thicker.”

SB 748 will now go to Gov. Snyder for his signature into law. The bill would go into immediate effect upon the governor’s signature.

 

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Sen. Brandenburg District Update

Brandenburg supports new laws to improve specialty courts

Laws that take effect this month will help improve outcomes for some offenders and cut down on the rate of recidivism.

Under Public Acts 161-164 of 2017, specialty or “problem-solving” courts, including veterans treatment, sobriety, drug treatment and mental health courts, will follow the same evidence-based practices and uniform guidelines as part of a new certification process. The new laws will help give participants the best opportunity for success and create a more consistent approach for the courts.

Michigan’s specialty courts reach 97 percent of the state’s population, helping offenders access treatment to address underlying issues such as alcohol or drug abuse.

Brandenburg backs bill to help people with limited mobility

Many seniors and others with limited mobility depend on easy access to disability parking.

I recently supported legislation to give physical therapists the same ability as physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to certify a patient’s disability in applying for free parking stickers, disability windshield placards, license plates and parking permits.  As health professionals with specialized knowledge in recognizing and providing treatment for mobility problems, these individuals also have the training and experience to determine a disabling condition. Senate Bill 582 has been sent to the House for consideration.

Pure Michigan Hunt update

Three lucky hunters recently received a congratulatory call from theMichigan Department of Natural Resources as the 2018 Pure Michigan Hunt winners. The winners will receive elk, bear, spring and fall turkey and antlerless deer licenses and a base license to be used in 2018 as well as first pick opening morning of the waterfowl season at any managed waterfowl hunt area. Each hunter also will receive a package of donated hunting gear worth more than $4,000.

The 2018 drawing had a total of 35,214 applications, generating more than $176,000 for habitat restoration and improvements. Applications for the next Pure Michigan Hunt drawing will be available starting March 1. Visit www.mi.gov/pmh for more information.

February is Heart Month

Up to 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be prevented. Many risk factors, such as blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol and lack of regular physical activity can be controlled. That’s why it’s important to learn about prevention and lifestyle changes.

I recently cosponsored Senate Resolution 125, a measure proclaiming February 2018 as American Heart Month and Feb. 2, 2018 as “Go Red for Women Day” to bring attention to heart disease. By raising awareness on heart health, we can help save thousands of lives each year.

Report a pothole

Michigan’s seasonal freeze-thaw cycle takes a toll on pavement! According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, as moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, it creates a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens, leading to a pothole.Motorists can report a pothole on any state road (roads beginning with M, I or U.S. designations) at www.michigan.gov/mdot (click on How Do I) or by calling 888-296-4546. For potholes on other roads, contact your county or local unit of government.