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Senator Mike Shirkey

2/18/2016

Legislative Reform Update

Protecting Constitutional Tax Limitations
How strong are Michigan’s Constitutional protections against excessive property tax increases? Do voters have an ultimate say through state law and local charters? Despite Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment, a 2015 report issued by the non-partisan Citizen Research Council makes it clear those protections are only partially effective.

One reason is because we need to reform a law that allows judges to independently create new property taxes as the result of lawsuits. These are called judgement levies, and can bypass the caps that are supposed to be in place on how high property taxes can go. This needs to be fixed, because simply stated, owning property shouldn’t make you an unlimited source of government revenue.

As a result we have introduced Senate Bill 630, which would mean court-ordered damages could only be garnished out of existing tax dollars, rather than through the creation of new and additional taxes on your home.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in Lansing this coming Tuesday.

Sen. Shirkey

Cutting Government Red Tape for Schools
Several senators including myself recently introduced Senate Bills 754-767, which would eliminate unnecessary and redundant data collection and reports to give teachers and administrators more time to work on what truly matters: teaching students.

Local school officials support the legislation.

“School districts appreciate the fact that data collection can help inform instruction and lead to improved operational efficiencies,” said Superintendent Kevin Oxley, Jackson County Intermediate School District. “However, oftentimes required data collection can be duplicative, creating unnecessary work that wastes taxpayer dollars. Jackson County school districts appreciate the efforts these bills are making to make sure our data collection activities are worthwhile and efficient.”

The legislation is designed to reduce red tape so schools can spend more time teaching. Educators throughout Michigan, including those in Branch, Hillsdale, and Jackson counties, all benefit when more time is available for their true work.

Read the full release here.

Removing Unneeded Vending Machine Regulations
Some regulations end up doing nothing more than increasing costs that are then passed on to consumers. Senate Bill 774 as introduced would eliminate a license requirement on the machine owners that has nothing to do with consumer protection or safety, and is an example of where government sometimes continues a practice into the future only because it had done so in the past. This particular licensing is no longer needed and is one of many we are searching for and eliminating. Follow this and other legislation here.

Constituent Corner

Question: “We’ve heard news about fraud attempts by criminals posing as tax agents. What do we do if called?” –Mark D.

Answer:
At the beginning of each year, tax fraud can become a bigger danger, but there are steps you can take to protect your information.

In one recent scam, criminals call or email individuals asking for sensitive tax information. Sometimes, the caller will pose as an IRS or Michigan Treasury Department agent requesting data. If you get a call or email like this, the key thing to know is that the IRS and Treasury in Michigan will always first use a letter to inform you of any legitimate requirements. The IRS will never demand immediate payment over the phone, threaten to arrest, or ask for a bank account number. Use these as indicators to spot a scam.

Knowing to expect a letter helps protect you, but you can also help law enforcement pursue justice by letting them know about scamming. If you receive a strange email or call demanding money or information, report it to the IRS or Treasury:
IRS Fraud Unit: phishing@irs.gov or 800-366-4484 or Website
Mi. Treasury Dept. Fraud Unit: ReportTaxFraud@Michigan.gov or 517-636-4157

Senator Shirkey In The News

New EPA Rules May be Removed – Good News for Your Energy Bill

Hillsdale Daily: Committee Unanimously Supports Active Duty Military Protections Bill

Efforts to End Wasteful State Spending Underway in Shirkey Committee

Voluntary Water Donations Come from Individuals and Jackson Businesses
- Because of efforts by a nearby Jackson supermarket, water company, and individual volunteers, a private water drive gave 3024 cases of water – 3 truckloads – and successfully delivered them to fellow Michiganders in need. Wise management of the upcoming state budget is crucial to protect tax dollars, but private efforts like these are on a different level.

Serving with and for you,

Mike Shirkey

Senator Mike Shirkey
320 Farnum Bldg.
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Visit my website at: www.senatormikeshirkey.com