Spinal Column: Tax reform provides welcome relief

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By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

Among my many responsibilities as a state senator, one of the duties I take very seriously is my responsibility to help remove unnecessary encumbrances our government places on residents. One of these is the tax burden.

Easing the tax burden is good for Michiganders personally, and it is good for the economy, providing a stimulus to investment.

The recent federal tax reform simplifies the tax code, lowers tax rates, doubles the standard deduction and increases family tax credits — all worthy achievements. Unfortunately, the reform also effectively ended the federal personal exemption.

Since the state personal exemption is based on the federal return, without a revision to state law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim personal exemptions on their state income taxes.

Senate Republicans crafted Senate Bills 748 and 750 to address this issue. The measures, which recently passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, would ensure Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming the personal exemption on their state and city income taxes after the federal reform goes into effect.

SB 748 would gradually raise the state’s personal exemption to $4,900 by 2021, while keeping it tied to inflation. In 2018, the exemption would be $4,050. It would increase by $350 yearly through 2020 and then bump up to $4,900 in 2021.

Preserving and increasing the personal exemption is a responsible and affordable solution for Michigan taxpayers. They have earned a break helping energize our economy and creating jobs.

I urge the governor to act swiftly to sign Senate Bills 748 and 750. Michiganders deserve this relief.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.