Senate Republicans are looking for a way to avoid taxing pensions, but didn’t make as much progess as they’d hoped this week on coming up with an alternate to replace the $900 million such a tax would generate in Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget plan.
The GOP majority hoped to make significant progress on Snyder’s proposal at their retreat last Wednesday, but it didn’t work out as planned, according to Senate Finance Committee Chair Jack Brandenburg of Harrison Township.
“We were supposed to go into that retreat at 11:30 and stay until after four but because of the number of amendments the Democrats put in on the (emergency financial manager legislation) we didn’t get over there until 2:30,” Brandenburg said of more than 20 failed amendments proposed by Democrats prior to Senate passage of its package Wednesday. “By the time we got over there we had a sandwich and looked at a couple of budgets. That’s all we had time for.”
Brandenburg is among 10 senators who have told The News they will not vote in favor of taxing pensions. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe has said the caucus is commtitted to passing a budget largely in the form Snyder proposed, so if they take out the pension tax they’ll come up with a way to replace it. Among the ideas floated: Taxing corporations more than 6 percent or opening Snyder’s proposed new corporate tax to more than just “C” corportations with stockholders.
GOP senators filled out 25-question surveys to gather their ideas for the budget. They’d hoped to compile results at the retreat, but didn’t have time, according to Brandenburg.
“I was really looking forward to looking at those,” Brandenburg said.
The caucus doesn’t have another retreat planned until March 23, but hopes to schedule a couple of extended caucuses next week, Brandenburg added.
“We definitely want to help the governor find a better way.”