LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Runestad on Tuesday blasted the Legislature’s new Democratic majority for forcing through the Senate its second billion-dollar spending boondoggle of the year.
“The governor and her Democratic leaders are working hard in Lansing to blow through the state’s $9 billion surplus; I almost wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t have a front row seat,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “We have now seen them work to rush two massive spending bills through the Legislature with a serious lack of transparency that are focused on shelling out massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to massive for-profit corporations with Chinese connections.”
The Senate voted late Tuesday to approve House Bill 4016. Referred to as the “Ford Supplemental,” the $1.3 billion spending bill would earmark $750 million for site development at Ford Motor Co.’s newly announced battery plant near Marshall.
Earlier this month, HB 4001 was approved along partisan lines to direct over $1.4 billion over the next three years to the state’s economic development Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund to be spent without legislative authority. The bill as passed would have also increased the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 6% to 30% of the federal EITC beginning with the 2022 tax year and phase-in over four years an exemption on certain retirement income from the state income tax, such as public retirement or pension benefits.
HB 4001 also would have blocked an automatic rollback of the income tax rate from 4.25% to 4.05% by retroactively moving $800 million from the general fund to a new fund to provide one-time $180 rebates in 2023. However, the bill failed to gain the two-thirds majority votes needed to take immediate effect, preserving the universal tax cut prescribed by a 2015 state law.
“Thankfully, Republicans were able to block this dishonest shift-and-shaft tax grab and preserve permanent income tax cuts promised to all Michigan taxpayers,” Runestad said. “I will continue fighting against the governor’s efforts to squander the state’s historic surplus. That money belongs to the families, seniors and hardworking Michiganders who sent it to Lansing and need some of it back to relieve household budgets being squeezed by drastic inflation.”
HB 4001 will go to the governor without immediate effect while HB 4016 will return to the House for further consideration.