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  • State Budget
    As a candidate, Rick Snyder vowed to turn around Michigan's economy.  As governor, Snyder is attempting to accomplish that campaign promise with a series of tax changes. One of the significant policy shifts concerns taxes on public sector pension and retirement plans, which the governor believes will generate badly-needed revenue while making the tax code more equitable.

    People who worked for government at the federal, state and local level and who qualify for pension benefits previously exempt from taxation are strongly opposed to the new tax. They claim the act is unconstitutional because it would violate a ban on a graduated state income tax, an issue which is being debated in the Michigan Supreme Court. Retirees are most concerned because if this plan goes through there would be a sudden decrease in the money they now rely on and that they worked so hard for.

    While opponents of the plan have made it seem radical and unfair, there have been compromises and certain exemptions have been created to ease retirees into this tax. These exemptions are intended to not radically change the lives of retirees, with exemptions for those who were born before 1946 for instance making them completely unaffected by the new tax, and with many other exemption plans designed to ease the process of the tax by having fewer and fewer exemptions in the following years. Through these exemptions, Snyder plans on limiting the income lost on those who rely on their pensions to survive, say those with a pension and retirement income of less than $20,000 for an individual or $40,000 for a joint return, while excluding people with a household income of over $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a joint return, thus trying to distribute the taxes in such a way so that the poor are not overburdened.

    For people who were born after 1952 the proposed law states that no exemptions may be filed until the person reaches the age of 67, thus taxing those who have not been relying on retirement and pension plans for very long, if at all.

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    About Us

    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Evan Martinak

    Evan Martinak is state budget policy fellow for the Michigan Policy Network. Evan is from Walled Lake, Michigan on the east side. He is a student in James Madison College, pursuing a major in international relations and also doubling it with an economics major. He intends to pursue a minor in Philosophy of Law. He is highly involved in student government at MSU. He is a member of ASMSU (The Associated Student of Michigan State University) as well as James Madison College Student Senate. He is also an avid Manchester United fan.