Another Tax Cut Proposal Approved; Results from the May 3 Special Election, Agency Updates, and Term Limit Proposal Heads to the Ballot
Friday, May 20th, 2022Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference
Michigan Legislature Approves Tax Cut Proposal
On May 19, the Michigan Senate swiftly approved, mostly along party lines, House Bill 4568 and Senate Bill 784 – a nearly $2.7 billion tax relief package. Subsequently, the Michigan House passed House Bill 4568, sending the bill to the Governor’s desk, but due to procedural restrictions, will wait until the following week to pass Senate Bill 784.
The measures would reduce the state’s income tax rate from 4.25 percent to 4 percent in the 2023 tax year. The bills also include an expansion of Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 6 percent to 20 percent in the 2022 tax year and increasing personal tax exemptions by $1,800. Finally, the bills include tax deductions for senior filers, dependents as well as disabled veterans. Senate Bill 784 addresses policy related to the spouses and surviving spouses of disabled veterans, as well as relief for local units of government.
During the floor debate, Democratic Legislators got up to speak to the tax cut proposal, saying it falls short of providing relief to Michiganders in the immediate term. Instead, the Governor and Democrats in the Legislature called for $500 in direct relief to families.
While tax cut proposals have been a focus of Republicans in the legislature for months, this particular effort to provide tax relief unfolded somewhat last minute after the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies released revenue numbers well above projections and budget balances between $4-5 billion for the General Fund and $4-5 billion for the School Aid fund going into Fiscal Year 2023. The effort also comes ahead of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on Friday, May 20 where revenue projections will be finalized.
As the package passed the chambers along party lines, the bills did not garner enough support to be granted immediate effect. Thus, any tax relief would not go into effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns sine die (next spring).
Special Election Results, New Members Added to Committees
New members have officially been sworn into the Michigan State House of Representatives following the May 3 Special Election in House Districts 15, 36, 43, and 74. New members respectively include Representatives Jeffrey Pepper (D-Dearborn), Terence Mekoski (R-Shelby Township), Mike Harris (R-Clarkston), and Carol Glanville (D-Walker). This leaves the House Republicans with a majority of 57-53.
Committee shuffling ensued during session on May 10. Rep. Pepper was added to the following committees: Families, Children, Seniors, replacing Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township), Agriculture replacing Rep. Sarah Cambensy (D-Marquette), and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), replacing Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden (D-Southfield).
Rep. Glanville will sit on the Insurance Committee, replacing Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), and on the Commerce and Tourism Committee, replacing Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham).
Rep. Mekoski was added to the House Judiciary, Local Government, and Regulatory Reform committees while Rep. Harris was added to Energy, Insurance, and Transportation Committees. Both new members replaced seats formerly held by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) after he requested to be removed from his assignments.
Rep. Matt Hall (R-Comstock Township) was removed from the committee on Regulatory Reform and Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) was appointed vice-chair of the House Insurance Committee, replacing Rep. Berman.
Schools Receive $10 Million for School Safety Grants
150 awards were given to 57 school districts, 14 intermediate school districts, 40 nonpublic schools, and 39 public school academies to improve school safety and security according to a release from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that $10 million in state funding through the Competitive School Safety Grant Program (CSSGP) would fund the purchase of equipment and/or technology to improve school buildings, students, and staff’s safety and security. 336 eligible applications were received with requests totaling $35 million and recipients were chosen from a committee of law enforcement, education, and school security personnel.
Grant recipients have until July 1, 2023, to spend their awards. View the full list of grant recipients.
State Expands Medicaid Coverage for Moms & Babies
On May 2, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that Michigan’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative, in part to expand Medicaid postpartum coverage to a full 12 months, was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Under current federal requirements, Medicaid enrollees receive coverage for 60 days postpartum. Expanding coverage to a full year is intended to allow pregnant people, and their newborns, to have access to necessary health services, such as behavioral, dental, and substance use services. The extension also promotes the completion of postpartum depression screening.
In 2018, Michigan’s Maternal Mortality Surveillance (MMMS) Committee found that almost 50% of maternal deaths in the state were preventable and there was a persistent racial disparity among these deaths.
In Michigan, this expansion is expected to benefit approximately 35,000 pregnant and postpartum people annually.
Over One Million Michiganders Covered Under Healthy Michigan Plan
On Monday, May 16, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that over one million Michigan residents have enrolled in the state’s Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP). The HMP is the state’s Medicaid expansion plan authorized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is available to Michiganders ages 19-64 who have an income at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty line.
According to data released by the University of Michigan, the Healthy Michigan Plan has doubled primary care usage, reduced enrollees’ reliance on the emergency room by 58 percent, and cut uncompensated care by nearly 50 percent.
Michigan Legislature Sends Term Limit Reform Proposal to Voters
On Tuesday, May 10, the Michigan State House and Senate passed House Joint Resolution (HJR) R by the required 2/3 majority vote in the affirmative in both chambers.
HJR R would propose an amendment to the state Constitution to change the term limits of state Representatives and Senators to 12 consecutive years of service in the Legislature, replacing the current term limits of 14 years – three two-year terms in the House and two four-year terms in the Senate.
Additional language in the resolution would require constitutional officers and legislators to disclose assets, liabilities, income, positions held, future employment agreements, gifts, travel reimbursements, and other payments. Language would also require the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general to submit annual financial disclosures including all of the items above and additionally include any payments made by a lobbyist or lobbyist agent to a charity in lieu of honoraria. All items must be reported to the Department of State and be made available online.
If legislation implementing the financial disclosure section is not enacted by December 31, 2023, residents may initiate legal action against the legislature and governor in the Michigan Supreme Court.
The impetus for the legislative action was a ballot proposal effort led by several stakeholders, including the former heads of the Michigan AFL-CIO and Michigan Chamber of Commerce. To change the Michigan Constitution, a ballot proposal must receive 425,000 signatures or supermajority approval in both the House and the Senate to send the proposal to the ballot. While the language approved by the legislature today is considered weaker than the initial ballot proposal language, some supporters of the ballot initiative ultimately appeared to indicate their support for the action.
This initiative will now head to the ballot in the November General Election and if passed by the majority of Michigan voters, will go into effect starting April 15, 2024.
Preliminary Injunction Granted in Planned Parenthood Suit
On May 17, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher granted Planned Parenthood of Michigan’s request for a preliminary injunction, halting the enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion. Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, the 1931 law cannot be enforced if there are court proceedings on the constitutionality of the statute.
The ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Attorney General was celebrated by many, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. In her release, Governor Whitmer said, “The opinion from the Michigan Court of Claims is clear and sends the message that Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, should not go into effect even if Roe is overturned. It will help ensure that Michigan remains a place where women have freedom and control over their own bodies.”
John Bursch, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, which works alongside Right to Life and the Catholic Conference spoke out against the preliminary injunction, “The judge engaged in an analysis without any advocacy from the other side. And she was demonstrably wrong in her legal conclusions and drawing on precedents which have absolutely no bearing on pro-life laws, and then issuing a really broad injunction that purports to bind not only the attorney general, but other people in the state of Michigan who weren’t even party to this case.”
Under Michigan’s 1931 law, abortion would be banned without exception for rape or incest.