January 27, 2018
LANSING — A quick look at what the Michigan Legislature has been up to recently:
Senate Bill 749, Increase child care income tax credit: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate
To establish that an individual is entitled to claim the same child care tax credit against Michigan income tax as the credit authorized by the 2017 federal tax reform law. This is a means-tested credit that is based on a percentage of child care expenses that are related to the taxpayer having a job (up to $6,000, or $3,000 if there is just one dependent). The credit would not be "refundable" (meaning the taxpayer would not get a check from the state for the amount the credit exceeded their income tax liability).
Senate Bill 652, Subject new environmental rules to authoritative review: Passed 26 to 11 in the Senate
To create a state environmental rules review committee comprised of certain officials and representatives of specified interests, with the duty to oversee and make judgments on whether plans by the Department of Environmental Quality to impose new rules meet certain specified criteria including reasonableness, and to propose revisions if they do not. The committee would be empowered to stop the DEQ from imposing a rule that did not meet the criteria. Senate Bill 653 was also adopted, which creates a similar authoritative oversight process for DEQ permit decisions.
House Bill 5100, Exempt bike racks, tow balls, etc. from ban on obscuring license plate: Passed 104 to 2 in the House
To establish that removable bicycle racks, trailer hitches, tow balls or similar devices are not included in the definition of “foreign materials that obscure or partially obscure” vehicle license plates, which is a civil offense.
House Bill 5257, Make possession of ransomware a felony: Passed 103 to 3 in the House
To make it a crime punishable by up to three years in prison to possess ransomware software with malicious intent. The bill defines ransomware as “a computer or data contaminant, encryption, or lock” that can be placed or introduced without authorization into a computer or network, and that restricts access in a manner that enables the perpetrator “to demand payment of money or other consideration” to remove it.
House Bill 5422, Authorize “refundable” $100 senior income tax credit: Passed 100 to 6 in the House
To authorize a $100 refundable tax exemption against the state income tax for individuals aged 62 and above. “Refundable” means the state will send the individual a check for the amount that the credit exceeds his or her tax liability.
House Bill 5420, Increase personal exemption in state income tax: Passed 105 to 1 in the House
To increase the $4,000 personal exemption that is currently allowed under the Michigan state income tax. The bill would immediately increase it to $4,300 and then gradually to $4,800 in 2021. Taxpayers can claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse and each dependent, and these are subtracted from the amount of income that is subject to income tax. The Senate has passed a version that increases the exemption to $4,700 by 2020.
Information provided as a courtesy of MichiganVotes.org.