LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad voted Tuesday and Wednesday to approve a series of Senate bills to fund the state’s 2023 fiscal year that included $2 billion in potential tax relief for Michigan workers, families and seniors.
“As chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, I began calling for tax cuts when the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference confirmed a record projected revenue forecast for Michigan back in January,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “The governor has also said she is willing to negotiate tax cuts for Michigan residents who are struggling to absorb the cost of historic inflation that has followed her unilateral pandemic shutdown of our state’s economy and reckless spending in Washington. Unfortunately, her veto pen has told another story in that she has recently struck down two tax relief bills sent to her by the Legislature. The Senate’s budget plan puts the cash on the table; I hope now the Legislature and governor can work together to put this money back into the pockets of Michiganders who need it most.”
On April 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed House Bill 5570, which would temporarily suspend the state’s gas and diesel taxes and saved Michigan drivers 27 cents per gallon at the pump. Weeks earlier, she had sent a letter to Congressional leaders lobbying for a pause in the federal gas tax.
On March 18, Whitmer vetoed Senate Bill 768, which Runestad helped to negotiate as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, that would have helped Michigan families by reducing the state’s income tax from 4.25% to 3.9% and creating a $500 tax credit for each child under the age of 19. It also included a tax deduction for seniors up to $40,000 for individuals and $80,000 for couples and lower the age threshold from 67 to 62. The governor had previously promoted cutting taxes during her annual State of the State address earlier this year.
“The state cannot continue to sit upon a massive budget surplus while more and more Michiganders are finding themselves living paycheck to paycheck,” Runestad said. “We have the funding to provide relief to every Michigan taxpayer who is paying more for food, more for gasoline, more for clothes, and more for everything. Meaningful tax relief will make a big difference for our most vulnerable families and seniors. This issue must continue to be a priority as we continue the budget process.”
The Senate’s budget package now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.