Shirkey supports tax relief bills, elimination of driver responsibility fees

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LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Mike Shirkey on Wednesday voted for legislation to preserve the personal exemption on the state income tax, provide additional relief for Michigan taxpayers and eliminate the state’s driver responsibility fees (DRFs).

“Our economy is strong, and the residents of Branch, Hillsdale and Jackson counties deserve a break,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “These reforms enable residents to continue claiming the personal exemption on their state and local income taxes while also keeping more of their own money.”

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act simplified the tax code, lowered tax rates, doubled the standard deduction and increased family tax credits. However, in streamlining the exemption process, it effectively ended the federal personal exemption. Since the state personal exemption is based on the federal return, a revision to state law is required.

Senate Bill 748 makes necessary changes to maintain the state personal exemption and also boost the exemption by an additional $600 to $4,900 by 2021. SB 750 would ensure that Michigan residents can continue claiming the personal exemption on their city income taxes.

Shirkey also supported legislation to eliminate assessment of new DRFs as of Oct. 1, 2018 and forgive any outstanding DRFs.

“Drivers shouldn’t be penalized twice for the same violation, but that is what driver responsibility fees do,” Shirkey said. “It was important to end this practice.”

House Bills 5040, 5041, 5043, 5044, 5046 and 5079 and SBs 613 and 625 also include a reform to enable drivers who cannot pay their fees to get their license back immediately by paying off the DRFs through a workforce training program.