Politics | State Politics

Michigan Sen. Jones' pension tax pickle


Rick Jones and four other Republican senators have been making a lot of noise about their new bill to repeal the pension tax and restore the homestead property tax credit. All five have been taking every opportunity to tell reporters that they voted against the Republican tax overhaul – with Jones wailing that he’s “greeted with a lot of outrage” whenever he goes to a coffee shop.

These five Senators are all technically correct when they say they voted against raising taxes on seniors living on a fixed income and on Michigan homeowners. But their opposition only lasted for a few minutes, as every one of them voted to give the bill immediate effect. Twice!

Caught in such an embarrassingly obvious case of hypocrisy, what does Rick Jones have to say for himself? Well, he hasn’t said anything, because no one has asked him. But his answer should be very interesting, considering how complicated his relationship with pension taxes is.

Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, moved to strip out the pension tax immediately after the Senate passed it. Sen. Jones joined 23 other Republicans in voting it down.

Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, moved to restore some income tax deductions for senior citizens immediately after passage of the initial bill. Sen. Jones joined 21 other Republicans in voting it down.

An election year is coming up, and many Republicans are scared for their political lives. They should be! But Sen. Jones owes his constituents, reporters, and every Michiganian the intellectual honesty to drop these political games. If he really didn’t support the pension tax, he had several chances to vote it down, delay its implementation, and even repeal it.

Sen. Jones, I get it – being a politician is hard. But don’t waste our time by complaining about unpopular decisions that you supported, but are afraid to publicly stand for. And drop the charade about outrage in coffee shops. On this one, you’re getting exactly what you deserve.


Joshua Pugh
Josh Pugh is director of communications for the Michigan Democratic Party. An experienced writer, researcher, new media professional and field organizer, he has worked on electoral and fundraising campaigns at the local, state, and national level. He is passionate about baseball, social media, freshwater policy, cities, education, and the arts.