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Michigan Legislative Update

Week of July 1, 2015

by Judy Augenstein

The Senate just passed an increase in the gas tax as well as the earmarking of more money from the General Fund to generate $1.5 billion more for funds for roads.  The Senate made adjustments to the House plan and passed all except the bill to repeal the Earned Income Tax bill.
Many Republicans support the EITC so the votes were not available today to send the bill back to the House.  The Senate also passed a bill that would lead to reductions in the income tax rate.

HB 4615 was the vehicle bill the Senate used to raise the gas tax.  The bill increases the gas tax by 4 cents on October 1, 2015,  a 7 cents increase on January 1, 2016 and 7 cents more on January 1, 2017.  The Senate vote on the gas tax increase was split 19-19, so Lt. Governor Brian Calley cast a tie-breaking "yes" vote.  Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit joined 18 Republicans to vote "yes" on the gas tax increase.  Nine Republicans joined the remaining 10 Democrats in opposition.  Most of the Republicans voting "no" had taken a campaign pledge to vote "no" on all and any new taxes if elected.

The road bills were referred back to the House for concurrence in the Senate changes.  The House was not in session this week and the Senate has recessed until July 15.  The House will return on July 14 to review the changes the Senate made to the House gas tax plan.

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