Bills provide tax relief, end driver responsibility fees
State Rep. Ben Frederick this week supported two bipartisan measures that aim to ease burdens on Michigan families.
The first would end driver responsibility fees effective Oct. 1 and forgive outstanding debt associated with the fees.
Frederick said the fees, which were enacted by a previous administration to fill a budget shortfall, resulted in financial hardships for families across the state.
“Driver responsibility fees created a huge economic barrier for many families,” said Frederick, of Owosso. “Because of the fees – which are charged on top of normal fines and court costs – many people least able to pay found themselves in increasing debt and without driver’s licenses for many years. That resulted in a Catch 22 where people couldn’t make payments to the state because their lack of a license prevented them from securing a job.”
The bill package ends the fees on Oct. 1 and forgives all outstanding debt in connection to the fees. The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables affected residents to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee. People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.
Frederick also voted in support of a plan to cut taxes for Michigan residents.
The plan continues and increases personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on state income taxes, potentially saving families hundreds of dollars overall.
“I know there are many households in Shiawassee and Saginaw counties that need and will welcome this much-deserved tax relief,” said Frederick. “That we have been able to move these measures through the legislative process in a bipartisan fashion is further proof that this is the right policy for our state.”
The bills ensure Michigan taxpayers will be able to continue claiming personal exemptions on their income taxes, a necessary step after federal tax reforms signed into law in December. The measure also increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,900 by the 2021 tax year.
The technical fix related to the federal reforms saves $170 per person per year – or $680 for a family of four – on state income taxes. The plan to raise the personal exemption to $4,900 provides an additional $102 in additional annual tax relief for a family of four.
The legislation also allows taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax to continue to claim exemptions.
Both measures were approved in nearly unanimous bipartisan votes by the House and move to the governor’s desk for consideration.