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Legislature opens 2018 with talk of tax cuts

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Returning money to taxpayers was the talk as the Legislature opened its 2018 session today. One of the first orders of business is dealing with an issue created by the federal tax overhaul, which zeroed out the personal exemption. That could result in Michiganders paying $840 million more in 2018 state taxes than they would otherwise.

Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich says the question is how to deal with it.  

“Obviously, we’ve seen the federal plan is already raising taxes on Michigan families, which we said was going to happen," Ananich said. "We didn’t know – in this case, it’s state taxes being increased. I think when we provide relief, it needs to be actual relief.”

Governor Rick Snyder has proposed allowing taxpayers to claim the exemption regardless of federal law.

But State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says he’s not on board yet.

“I would just say, it’s a good start," Meekhof said. "I think there’s more we can do to put people’s money back in their pockets.”

Meekhof says the Senate Finance Committee will hold hearings to come up with a plan to make sure Michigan taxpayers don’t get hit with an increase.

The Senate Republican leader says coming up with a fix will be an early priority this year. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.