By George Darany
With the deadline for filing state and federal taxes quickly approaching, many residents have been contacting my office with questions about the new tax system that took effect in January. As many of you are aware, these changes impose many new burdens on Michigan families through increased taxes on senior citizens and the elimination of a number of credits and deductions.
I did not support these changes and it was disappointing to see such a major change come through the Legislature that will hurt middle class, working families.
This new tax structure represents a major shift: instead of a tax base that includes businesses and individuals, taxpayers must now pay a great deal more for state government programs and services. In addition, proponents of the new law added an appropriation, preventing Michiganders from voting on the law themselves.
In particular, I am concerned about the retirement tax phase-in. As you may recall, last year, the leadership in Lansing passed legislation that will tax individuals according to when they were born. Picking winners and losers based on when you were born is not what I would call “shared sacrifice.”
Individuals who have worked their entire lives and planned and saved for retirement deserve to be treated equally. We always hear talk of not kicking the can down the road or putting the burdens of our debt on our children and grandchildren. However, the age at which an individual can retire and collect full Social Security has been steadily pushed back.
So now an individual born 10 years later than his neighbor or co-worker must work longer to make up for these changes and to qualify for Social Security and Medicare. And on top of that, they will now have their retirement benefits taxed.
In an effort to help connect you with resources and answer questions about these changes, I have scheduled an informative Town Hall from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn. I will be joined by a number of my legislative colleagues from the surrounding districts and by Wayne County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak. I also will have Renell Weathers from the Michigan League for Human Services, Mitch Bean, the former director of the non-partisan House of Representatives Fiscal Agency, and other tax professionals on hand to help answer your questions and explain how these changes will impact you and your families.
If you can not attend but would still like assistance, there are a number of resources available online or through my office. For information or copies of forms and instructions regarding state taxes, please visit the Michigan Department of Treasury’s website at michigan.gov/taxes, or call the customer call center at 517-373-3200.
In addition, my office has the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide available, if you would like to order a copy and have it sent to your home, please call my office, toll free at 855-775-1515.
Once again, thank you for all the support and I hope to see you from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the Henry Ford Centennial Library.
(State Rep. George Darany represents the 15th House District. To contact him, call 855-775-1515 or email him at [email protected]. To sign up for his e-newsletter, go to his website, house.mi.gov/gdarany.)