Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Borton: Don’t get too attached to high tax returns this year
RELEASE|January 29, 2024
Contact: Ken Borton

State Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord, is calling for action on a recently introduced Republican plan that would immediately reduce the state income tax rate to 3.9% to help families struggling to keep up with the high cost of living.

Monday marked the first day 2023 tax filings could be submitted. Filers in Michigan may see a higher-than-expected 2023 return stemming from a Republican-passed law lowering the state income tax rate from 4.25% to 4.05%. The tax relief was intended to be permanent. However, Lansing Democrats undercut the plan in 2023 and successfully pushed for taxes to go back up in 2024.

“Democrats are proving that even if someone only has two nickels to their name, they’ll happily take both under the guise of helping vulnerable people,” Borton said. “Vulnerable people need their two nickels and a whole lot more tax relief if they’re ever going to dig out from under the mountain of bills created by inflation. We’re dealing with another massive revenue surplus this year. The state is well within its means to secure tax relief for working people.”

The Republican plan, HB 5399, would follow through on a promise to restore the rate to 3.9 percent after it was raised during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration.

In 2007, as part of a legislative deal to avoid a government shutdown, then-Gov. Granholm and state lawmakers agreed to temporarily increase the state income tax rate from 3.9% to 4.35%. The pledge at the time was for the tax rate to fall back to 3.9% by 2015, but it never happened. The state income tax rate was later reduced to 4.25% in 2012 and temporarily dipped to 4.05% in 2023. Under Democrat leadership, the tax will rise to 4.25% in 2024.

“Folks across Michigan were promised a lower income tax, but the state never delivered,” Borton said. “The Republican plan to lower the income tax fulfills that pledge to voters. People go to their jobs every day and work hard for their income. By imposing higher taxes, the governor and Lansing Democrats are forcing the whole of Michigan to bankroll their plan to help rich people buy electric vehicles. It’s deeply concerning that Democrats in leadership truly believe helping the wealthy afford nicer cars is more important than securing tax relief for the working class.”

According to data compiled by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, jobs in states taxing income at less than 4% are up 5.7% above their pre-pandemic levels. In states taxing income at 4% or higher, job numbers have only increased by about 2% since the pandemic. Michigan is even further behind, with the state still 0.6% below its pre-pandemic job numbers, according to the latest payroll jobs data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

House Bill 5399 was referred to the historically unproductive House Government Operations Committee.


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