(WJBK) - Denouncing it as "corporate welfare," the GOP chair of the house budget committee is digging in for a battle with the insurance industry over an accidental $80 million dollar tax credit that, if left standing, will blow a hole in the state budget. And Rep. Al Pscholka is fighting to make sure it does not happen.
Mr.Pscholka is accusing the insurance lobby of using the tax credit as leverage to move the no-fault car insurance legislation that has languished in the house for years.
"They want to play politics on no-fault," the chairperson tells the Off the Record panel.
He reports he had the insurance lobby in his office and they admitted that credit was a mistake yet they want to continue the credit. "It's unfortunate. It is terrible public policy," that he wants taken off the books.
The west Michigan lawmaker also warns the other side about characterizing this as a tax increase if the credit comes off. "It's a dodge," he contends.
The Michigan Insurance Coalition has reportedly made the claim in some Facebook advertising which Rep. Brad Jacobsen rejects. He believes this is a tax loophole the industry is taking advantage of to enhance "insurance company windfall profits." He chairs the committee considering the issue.
Mr.Pscholka believes it would be one thing if the industry used the credit and rebated part of the savings back to the motorist but he contends that was not done but if the credit survives, he promises legislation to mandate the give-back to the consumer. Legislation pushed by fellow Republicans Rep. Earl Poleski and Rep. Jon Bumstead that addresses this issue is pending and the two were scheduled to meet with the House GOP Speaker Kevin Cotter on the issue on Thursday.
On other issues, Mr. Pscholka concedes that his suggestion last year to revisit and revamp Proposal A for funding schools did not result in a wave of enthusiasm to do it. He says after making the pronouncement that a change was needed, he looked over his shoulder and found nobody there.
"Per pupil funding is not the way to go," he insists and sees other alternatives such as basing funding on class size.
He also chastized the Obama administration for not kicking in more to address the Flint water crisis.
His appearance can be seen Friday at www.WKAR.org.