The Latest: Lawmaker says he changed mind on tax cut bill
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the Michigan House’s income tax proposal (all times local):
A Republican state lawmaker says he initially indicated to House leadership that he would support an income tax cut bill but changed his mind when the legislation was put to a vote.
Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance had his chairmanship of a committee taken away early Thursday because of the switch. House Speaker Tom Leonard accused Sheppard of lying to him.
Sheppard told The Associated Press Thursday the “gut check moment” for him came when he saw numerous Democrats and Republicans opposing the bill. It failed on a 52-55 vote.
Sheppard says as the late-night session dragged on, more constituents and people were calling him to express opposition to the legislation. He says he had to “follow my conscience” and he harbors no ill-will or anger toward Leonard for removing him from the Financial Services Committee.
The fallout over Michigan House Republicans’ failure to pass an income tax cut is already underway.
GOP House Speaker Tom Leonard announced after 3 a.m. Thursday that he removed Republican Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance as chairman of the Financial Services Committee. Leonard says Sheppard, who voted against a bill to cut the 4.25 percent income tax to 3.9 percent over four years, told him he would vote yes.
Leonard says in statement that it’s “unacceptable” that Sheppard “lied” about his position. Sheppard could not immediately be reached to comment.
The House early Thursday fell three votes short of the 55 needed to move the legislation to the Senate.
Leonard named Republican Rep. Diana Farrington of Utica the new chairwoman of the committee. Sheppard will no longer serve on the panel.
The Republican-led Michigan House has defeated legislation to lower the state’s income tax.
The bill that fell three votes short of passage early Thursday would lower the 4.25 percent tax to 4.05 percent by 2019 and then to 3.9 percent by 2021 as long as the state savings, or rainy day, fund is not below $1 billion.
Eleven Republicans joined all but one Democrat in opposing the legislation.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has voiced concerns about the budget implications of a tax cut.
Conservatives say Michigan’s income tax should return to 3.9 percent, where it was as recently as 2007 before being increased to address a budget deficit.
The Michigan House is meeting overnight as majority Republicans struggle to gain support for an income tax cut.
Legislation that would reduce the 4.25 tax to 3.9 percent over four years is on the agenda for a vote. But the GOP is at odds early Thursday over the proposal that’s opposed by Democrats. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has cited “serious concerns” about the budget implications of the tax cut.
Conservatives say Michigan’s income tax should return to 3.9 percent, where it was as recently as 2007 before being increased to address a budget deficit. New House Republican leaders are making the tax cut a priority early in the two-year term.
Snyder says taxes already have been lowered under his watch.
The House session began Wednesday afternoon and extended beyond midnight.