Serious push back on senior tax repeal

- While the bipartisan push for a repeal of the Snyder administration's senior pension tax continues, it bumped into some serious push back on Thursday from two key players, Gov. Rick Snyder and Senate GOP leader Arlan Meekhof.

When asked during a scrum if he supported the elimination, the governor was to the point, "What'd I say is no."

Just moments before, after appearing at the 180th birthday event for the state, the Senate Majority Leader told MIRS that he did not endorse the repeal and observed that the main senate sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones, was "free-lancing" when he unilaterally offered up the legislation without the blessing of the SML.

In the governor's explanation of his opposition he noted that "it's not a senior pension tax.  What we put out is helping a broader base of Michiganders that really needed that benefit...it's a better system than what we had before."

Regarding a GOP-only effort to rollback the state income tax rate, the governor noted that there is a Homestead property tax break in next years budget along with a long-term income roll back inserted into the so-called road fix package.  The governor warned everyone that "when people talk about rollbacks, near term, the big question to ask is what are your going to otherwise cut or where are you going to get other revenue to replace that?"  Having said that he offered, "I'm open minded but people have to answer that part of the question."

On unrelated issues, the governor, without saying so, appears to be at odds with the immigration directives coming out of the Trump administration.  "Immigration can be an important opportunity for Americans," the governor strikes a more conciliatory tone that the new president adding, "regardless of what the national policy is, Michigan is viewed as a welcoming place" and he pledged to work with his Office for New Americans to keep the welcome mat out.

It was previously reported that the governor was not getting his phone calls returned from the new White House so it seemed only natural to ask if that situation had changed?  The governor brushed the question aside with, "that's an old question" and he pivoted to how he is realizing "good dialogue with the people in the administration on many fronts."

In fact there are published reports that the Trump administration infrastructure wish list includes three projects in Michigan including the new Q-line mass transit trolley in downtown Detroit, the Gordie Howe International Bridge to Canada and a re-do of the Soo Locks in the Upper Peninsula.  The governor notes, "that has not been on the formally released list but I'm happy to see the Soo Locks is very high on that list."

On the continuing efforts to clean up the UIA computer challenges regarding falsely accused jobless benefit recipients, the governor noted his office is staying on top of that and "we've made a lot of progress," but he made no mention of returning money to those recipients.

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