LANSING - House Democrats criticized a last-minute, lengthy package of bills brought up by House leadership today to correct errors on a complicated tax code signed into law earlier this year.
The House Tax Policy Committee took up 32 bills last week - the heaviest agenda for the committee this session - solely to apply fixes and clarifications to House Bill 4361. House Bill 4361 was the central framework to Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to create the corporate income tax, implement a pension tax, and do away with most state tax credits.
“These new bills show how negligent House Republicans have been,” said State Rep. Jim Townsend (Royal Oak). “House Republicans were so eager to cater to their friends in big business that they passed flawed legislation that needed fixes just months after being signed into law.”
The original legislation, which passed in May, had very little time to be reviewed by the Department of Treasury and the Legislative Service Bureau - both key state agencies that review and analyze tax policy. This resulted in several errors as well as some confusion as to what some of the provision defined in the legislation mean.
Democrats received notice of the agenda at the last minute before Wednesday’s committee hearing.
“We’re ready and willing to partner in a bipartisan way to help boost our state’s economy, but we can’t do that when 32 bills appear on our desk without proper notice,” Townsend said. “There wasn’t even time to read them let alone analyze their impact.”
House Republicans said the fixes were presented with little time for review or debate because they needed to be passed so Oct. 1 tax forms could be printed.
“Rushing half-baked bills through the process this way is what created the need for these fixes to begin with,” said State Rep. Vicki Barnett (Farmington Hills). “Republican leadership rammed these bills through committee and are now forcing a vote on the House floor without providing members with an analysis of their economic impact. That’s inexcusable and irresponsible, especially when we’re dealing with something as important as the state’s tax code in this sensitive economy.”