News Story

Upper Peninsula Democrat Breaks With Party On Vote To Cut State Income Tax

Dianda of Calumet calls for a 'much-needed tax decrease'

State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet). Photo via city of Hancock.

One Upper Peninsula Democrat is marching to a different drummer than his party when it comes to the state income tax.

On the very first vote in the Michigan House this year, Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, sided with most Republicans on a bill to cut the state income tax rate from 4.25 percent to 4.05 percent.

Dianda was the lone Democrat to vote with 51 Republicans for the bill, which was defeated on Feb. 23 by a 52 to 55 vote. Twelve Republicans sided with Democrats to kill the proposal, contained in House Bill 4001.

Charles Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said that Dianda has a perfect 100 percent score on his organization’s 2017 voting record because the only vote counted thus far is the income tax vote. (Several other, unanimous votes on non-controversial bills have occurred since.)

Dianda has also introduced a bill to repeal vehicle registration (license plate) tax fees that took effect this year.

House Bill 4251 would repeal a 20 percent increase in license plate fees that was approved in 2015. Dianda voted against that tax increase in 2015, along with eight Republicans. The tax increase narrowly passed 54-53 in the Michigan House, and then was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“My bill would give working families and senior citizens a much-needed tax decrease,” Dianda said of his bill in a press release. “The Michigan Department of Transportation already gets a lot of our tax dollars. We should know that they are spending that money wisely before we give them any more.”

According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, revenue from the license plate tax rose from $420.2 million in 1990 to $943.5 million in 2014, three years before the 20 percent tax increase took effect. The new vehicle registration tax will collect $215.9 million when fully implemented in 2018.

Dianda, who cannot run for re-election in 2018 due to term limits, did not respond to a request for comment.