LaFave votes to give families relief

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MICHIGAN -- State Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain today voted in favor of bills which provide broad income tax relief to Michigan families and end senseless driver responsibility fees.

LaFave said the driver responsibility fees were a scheme by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to plug a shortfall in the budget nearly 15 years ago. Since then, payment of the fees and loss of driving privileges have created a financial hardship for many Upper Peninsula families.

“This is undoubtedly one of the most heinous fees carried over from the Lost Decade,” LaFave said. “I was happy to cast my vote to end it. The vast distances that separate people from their friends and jobs require them to drive. If their privileges are revoked, they are simply unable to make a living. Responsibility fees create a lose-lose instance of double jeopardy where you are punished if you drive to work without a license to gather the savings to get your license back, and forced into poverty if you don’t.”

The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables drivers to get their licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee.

People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.

The Legislature also voted on tax relief bills, which LaFave said continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on state income taxes, saving families hundreds of dollars overall.

“This tax relief on top of ending the driver responsibility fees is the sweetest Valentine’s Day gift, and the people of Michigan deserve it,” LaFave said. “These are both pocketbook issues that will help families make ends meet. Our state budget is in good shape and we can afford this tax cut. We all know hard-working families in the Upper Peninsula and all across Michigan deserve some relief.”

The tax relief legislation ensures Michigan taxpayers will be able to continue claiming personal exemptions on their income taxes. The bill also increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,900 by the 2021 tax year.

The driver responsibility fee measures and the tax relief measures now move to the governor for consideration.


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