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Lawmakers might not try to do away with the state income tax after all.

Governor Rick Snyder opposed the plan to phase the tax out completely. And there were skeptics in the Senate as well.  

   So lawmakers have a new version of the bill.

It would drop the income tax from 4 point 25 percent to 3 point 9 percent by 20-21 and keep it there.

Representative Lee Chatfield is the bill’s sponsor.

 

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Legislation that would give companies building on blighted and undesirable land a tax break is swiftly making its way through the Senate. But it could be headed for a roadblock.

House Republicans have made it clear they have income tax cuts on the mind – to the tune of costing the state 1 – point-1 billion dollars in revenue during its first full year.

But with a Senate bill that would allow developers to capture some tax revenue to pay for specific projects, the question becomes is there room for both.

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House Republicans have an ambitious plan they say will keep Michigan on its path of recovery.

Car insurance reform is one part of the plan. House Speaker Tom Leonard says they want to reexamine Michigan’s no-fault system and find a way to reduce costs.   

“We’ve got a situation where folks simply can no longer afford auto insurance.”

Earlier efforts at no-fault reform drew fierce opposition.

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Michigan would ditch the state income tax, under legislation moving ahead in Lansing. 

The state treasurer and some democratic lawmakers warn the proposed income tax phase-out would put a one-point-one  billion dollar hole in in the budget during the first full year. They say public service programs would suffer as a result.  

Republican Representative Martin Howrylak is on the committee that O-K’d the rollback. He says he’s in favor of tax reform, but the bill is moving too fast.

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As Michigan lawmakers continue to examine new methods for holding schools accountable, the State School Reform office is defending its current system.

   The Senate education committee held another meeting on a bill that would repeal the law allowing the state to close consistently low performing schools.

Superintendents and parents previously criticized the office for not being involved enough in the schools and for not having clear and consistent ways for measuring progress.

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Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget brought mixed reactions, in some cases from his own party.

Snyder presented the budget proposal today.

While there was a lot for Lansing Democrats to love – like increased spending in a variety of government programs – other groups came away frustrated.

   Some charter school advocates blasted the governor’s proposal saying not enough money is available for so-called “innovative” schools.

   But state superintendent Brian Whiston  says the budget is a success for Michigan’s education goals.

 

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Education, public safety, and paying down the long term debt will be Governor Rick Snyder’s top priorities when he unveils his 2018 budget Wednesday.

Some Republicans in Lansing are really hoping to make some aggressive tax cuts this year.  Especially since Michigan has a 330 million dollar surplus in the budget.

But as Governor Rick Snyder gets ready to roll out his budget plan, he’s shying away from major tax cuts.

State Budget Office spokesperson Kurt Weiss said tax cuts need to be balanced with replacement revenue, even though there is a hefty surplus.

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Governor Rick Snyder is going after Michigan’s mountain of unfunded retiree liabilities. He created a task force to look into – quote – “responsible retirement reform”

   Last year, Republicans lawmakers tried and failed to overhaul public employee pensions and retirement health benefits. They said it was an effort to fix Michigan’s unfunded liability problem.  

   Now this task force will come up with a list of pension and health care reforms by this spring.

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Cities cannot refuse to sell tobacco products to people between the ages of 18 and 20. That’s coming from state Attorney General Bill Schuette who issued an opinion today.

Last July the city of Ann Arbor passed an ordinance forbidding the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.

Andrea Bitely is with the Attorney General’s office.

In his opinion, Attorney General Bill Schuette says the ordinance is contrary to the Age of Majority Act – which says anyone 18 years old or older is considered a legal adult.

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The city of Escanaba is taking on big box stores in the Michigan Supreme Court. The city says the home improvement store Menards  is dodging taxes.

It’s called the “dark store” loophole, and it’s been used more often in recent years. It determines property taxes for fully-functioning retailers like Target and Wal-Mart based on nearby empty stores.

Jack Van Coevering  is the attorney for the city of Escanaba – which is going up against the home improvement chain Menards. He says the city wants the big box stores to be taxed like other stores.

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