CHICAGO — Michigan’s fiscal 2012 budget took a big step towards completion this week as Gov. Rick Snyder and his fellow Republican leaders announced a compromise plan to increase taxes.
Under the new plan, the state would tax pension income for residents under 67, generating a projected $300 million annually. Snyder had originally proposed taxing all pension income, a move that would have brought in an estimated $900 million.
Michigan is one of only three states that currently exempts most pension income from state income tax, according to the governor’s office.
The compromise advances the $46 billion all-funds fiscal 2012 budget that Snyder unveiled in mid-February. The governor is pushing lawmakers to craft a final plan by May 31, and with the compromise in hand, the Legislature could approve a final budget months ahead of schedule.
Michigan’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and lawmakers in recent years have bickered over a final budget plan until the last day.
The loss of $600 million in the compromise plan would be offset by a series of measures, GOP leaders said. Those include $150 million in new, yet-to-be-announced cuts; postponing an income tax cut for one year, which would save $170 million; and tightening up eligibility standards for the homestead tax credit to save another $200 million.
The compromise adheres to Snyder’s proposal to eliminate the unpopular 6% Michigan business tax and replace it with a flat 6% corporate tax.
Snyder joined Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, and House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, to announce the plan Tuesday. The lawmakers said they would begin lobbying their colleagues for early passage.
Democratic legislators, meanwhile, said they remain opposed to any plan to tax retirement income.
“Republicans are putting a fresh coat of paint on the same plan to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, working families, and students while giving billions away to big corporations,” Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, and House Minority Leader Richard Hammel, D-Mt. Morris, said in a joint statement.