LANSING (WJBK) - After taking almost a one month holiday break, state lawmakers were back at the Capitol on Wednesday looking at a New Year agenda that includes lots of pocketbook and controversial issues. FOX 2's Tim Skubick reports one of those issues pits labor against legislative Republicans.
Michigan lawmakers are back for the New Year and union members are gathering in Lansing as well. They want to hang on to what called prevailing wages. They're afraid in the new legislative year. Republicans will take those higher wages away.
"It's another attack on working people. They're trying to bring down our wages and we're not going to have it," one protester said.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof counters the mandatory paying of union wages on government construction jobs adds an automatic 10 percent to the cost for local taxpayers, which is why he wants to repeal prevailing wage.
"I want to save taxpayers money. That's what I want to do," he said.
This new year they plan to tackle a driver fee rebate and restore millions of dollars to drivers who are hit with hefty fines under previous legislation. They also hope to improve mental health legislation and revisit no fault insurance.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's no fault plan went up in smoke last year because he wanted to give drivers a choice on how much car insurance they wanted.
State Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, argues if the mayor junks that, a deal could be reached.
"The hope is that we can forge a bipartisan coalition around the best parts of his plan and jettison some of those parts that really don't meet the muster in the legislature," he said.
On the tax front, the president's tax cut turned out to be a $1.5 billion indirect tax hike in Michigan taxpayers. The governor wants to return that money, but some are talking about using it to slice the state income tax rate. Democrats say it’s another tax break for the rich.
"It's a troubling idea. They want to take the Trump tax increase and redistribute the wealth unevenly to the people across the state," Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said.
The senate GOP leader disagrees. Let the games begin.