News Story

On House Bill 4001, Michigan Senate Republicans deny immediate effect, preserve tax cut

State will cut tax rate from 4.25% to 4.05%, not issue one-time checks of $180

A scheduled drop in the Michigan income tax rate, from 4.25% to 4.05%, was preserved Tuesday when the Michigan Senate denied immediate effect to House Bill 4001.

Tuesday’s vote marked the second attempt for Michigan Senate Democrats to seek immediate effect on the bill. Another effort failed Feb. 16.

Read House Bill 4001 for yourself

Immediate effect mattered in this case, because it was tied to a scheme to replace the permanent tax cut with one-time rebate checks of $180. But the bill required that the law take effect by April 18.

As The Detroit News explained:

The tax relief legislation, a top Whitmer priority for her second term, originally included a plan to give out $180 rebate checks, totaling about $800 million, to circumvent an anticipated drop in the 4.25% personal income tax. A 2015 state law, which tied the income tax to revenues, is expected to soon decrease the rate to 4.05%.

Nick Smith, state senate reporter for Gongwer, reports that the immediate effect vote only got 19 votes. It needed two-thirds of the 38 senators to vote yes, or 26. Democrats hold a 20-18 majority in the Michigan Senate; 19 votes for immediate effect means the entire Democratic caucus was not united on the effort.

Immediate effect would have required every Democrat, along with six Republicans, to vote yes.

While there had been talk in Lansing that Senate Democrats would attempt to change the rules regarding immediate effect — perhaps requiring a voice vote, as is House custom, rather than keeping a tally, which has been the Senate practice — Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, appeared to concede defeat.

“It’s unfortunate those won’t be going out," said Brinks of the $180 checks, as quoted by The Detroit News. "We were hoping we would be able to get Republican support for that. But unfortunately, they were unwilling to do so.”

Senate Republicans celebrated their vote on Twitter.

“We just voted to protect the income tax you’re owed by state law this year,” wrote @MISenate, the account for the Senate Republicans. “Again. It’s YOUR money and we won’t stop until it’s back in your pocket.”

House Bill 4001 will head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.