We're one month into the new year and the Legislature is back in business. As we close out the work week and head into the weekend, I wanted to give you a brief update on my recent work in Lansing.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov
or toll-free at 855-347-8032. Or if you are in Lansing, please feel free to stop by my office, room 7200 in the Binsfield Office Building.
32nd District Horn announces February office hours in Fenton Township
Since being elected to represent the 32nd District in the state Senate, I have tried to maintain regular office hours in communities throughout the district.
My office hours for the month of February will take place at the following date, time and location: Friday, Feb. 16
Noon - 2 p.m.
Fenton Township Hall 12060 Mantawauka Drive
I look forward to meeting with folks from Fenton Township and hearing concerns that any residents of the district may have. Please feel free to drop in. No appointment is necessary. Legislative updates
Last month, Rep. Vanessa Guerra and I were joined by Pam Clark from Delta College to testify in front of the Senate Appropriation Committee in support of Rep. Guerra's House Bill 5284
. The bill is necessary to make sure the property for Delta's Saginaw Center is ready for construction in Downtown Saginaw.
HB 5284 is now on its way to the governor's desk for final approval. I'm looking forward to Delta breaking ground on the Saginaw Center next month.
This past Thursday I was joined by Rep. Ben Frederick to testify on my bill, Senate Bill 393
, which would increase reporting requirements for Downtown Development Authorities (DDAs). I'm a great supporter of DDAs and their work to restore and maintain downtown areas, but the public should have a full understanding and accounting of their activities. Every tax dollar ought to be able to be tracked to its final destination.
I've been working hand in hand with the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association and Michigan Downtown Association to arrive at a reasonable approach that protects taxpayers and promotes growth. I'd like to give a big shout out to my chief of staff Jami Des Chenes for the countless hours she's put into crafting this legislation. This good public policy wouldn't have been possible without her dedication.
SB 393 should get final approval next week before sending the bill to the Governor. Horn supports tax relief bills
I recently supported Senate legislation to help hardworking Michigan taxpayers keep more of the money they earn. Senate Bills 748-750 protect the personal exemption on state and local income taxes and deliver additional tax relief.
While recent federal tax reform lowers tax rates and doubles the standard deduction, it also effectively ends the federal personal exemption. Since the state personal exemption is based on the federal return, Michigan taxpayers would be unable to claim personal exemptions on their state income taxes. The bills make the necessary changes to keep the personal exemption but also boost the exemption. In 2018, the exemption would be $4,500. It would increase by $100 each year through 2020 and then bump up to $5,000 in 2021.
In addition, the legislation helps families who provide necessary care for children, elderly parents or disabled family members by creating a new dependent care tax credit.
There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the recent tax overhaul from D.C. and we want this legislation to bring both clarity and relief to Michigan residents. Our budget has stabilized and we've passed many important reforms aimed at strengthening our state's economy and growing our communities. Now is the time to start giving back to Michigan families.
The bills have been sent to the House for further consideration. Horn backs override to speed up sales tax relief
The Legislature recently voted to override the governor's veto of legislation to accelerate "sales tax on the difference" reform when consumers purchase a vehicle. The legislation has now been assigned Public Acts 1 and 2 of 2018 with immediate effect.
The move speeds up the phase-in of sales tax relief when consumers trade in their car to buy a new one. The legislation increases the cap on the trade-in value to $4,000 beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and to $5,000 by Jan. 1, 2019. The cap increases by $1,000 each year until fully implemented in 2028.
Michigan was one of only six states - and the only Great Lakes state - that taxed the value of trade-ins. I'm pleased the new laws will help consumers save money when they buy a car. Saginaw-area leaders join Horn for 2018 State of the State address
It was my pleasure to welcome a diverse group from the Saginaw area for Gov. Rick Snyder's last State of the State address.
I want to thank Saginaw Valley State University President Don Bachand and his wife Liana; Heather Gallegos from The Dow Chemical Company; Kraig Schutter from the Masud Labor Law Group; and Rodney Wakeman of Wakeman Funeral Homes for joining me at the Capitol last week. Horn welcomes Hemmeter Elementary fourth graders to state Capitol
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to welcome three Hemmeter Elementary School fourth grade classes to the Capitol. The students toured the Capitol and learned firsthand about state government.
These kids are smart, funny, and respectful. I'm sure their teacher could not have been more proud during their visit. If you've ever wondered what Michigan will look like in the future, look no further. Michigan will be in great hands when these students take the reins! Horn pleased, optimistic about Snyder's final State of the State address
The most important thing to take away from Governor Snyder's address is that Michigan's comeback is now a reality. It was a pleasant surprise to get a shoutout during the State of the State because of our work on economic development. Because of the MIthrive Initiative and the Good Jobs package, our skyscrapers are taller, our wallets are fuller and our students have more opportunities than ever before.
Since my first days in Lansing, I've been saying that in order for Michigan to recover we need to fall in love with manufacturing again. We need to melt steel and build things. We need to teach our kids that these kinds of jobs and skills can provide a very good career. Since 2010, we've created the most manufacturing jobs in the U.S., which is proof that this is happening.
Not every student is going to go to college but every single one deserves a great career. We've talked and talked for years about the skilled trades gap and how we can address it. I'm proud to be partnering with the governor and my legislative colleagues to work toward closing that gap. I want to make sure that my own kids, my grandkids and children across the state have a successful future available to them right here in Michigan.
Now that we've balanced and stabilized our budget, approved the budget ahead of schedule seven years in a row, and passed many important reforms, it's time to give relief to families throughout my district and our state. Many people's paychecks took a hit during the lost decade, and now that we're in the comeback decade, we need to look at ways to put money back in our residents' pockets. The Senate is taking the lead with multiple tax reform bills, but we also need to address other areas that are squeezing people's paychecks. We need to continue to improve our roads and find ways to reduce insurance costs.
I'm also glad the governor touched on the issue of civility and how we talk to each other. This year with things that have happened in my life, I've realized that it is all about setting priorities. Our priorities should be our families, friends, our neighbors and what we can do for each other. The anger I've witnessed in politics over the last decade is unbecoming of us. Let's remember to be kind to each other. Everybody you meet today is fighting an internal battle known only to them. And believe me, politics is the last thing on their mind. Detroit Tigers caravan makes stop at the Capitol
The annual Detroit Tigers Caravan made its way to Lansing and the state Capitol last week.
It was quite a treat to welcome Nicholas Castellanos, Shane Greene, Daniel Stumpf, and future Hall of Famer Alan Trammell to the Michigan Senate! Free Fishing weekend
Anglers, check out Michigan's annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend! This great event falls on Feb. 17 and 18 this year. All fishing license fees are waived for residents and out-of-state visitors on both inland and Great Lakes waters for the two days. All other fishing regulations still apply.
for information on special events and activities. A Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Recreation Passport will not be required at any state park or recreation area during the free fishing weekend.