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From Lansing:a column by State Rep. Brad Jacobsen

Ensuring economic opportunity for Michigan's taxpayers

August 14, 2013 - Michigan House Republicans have been working hard to ensure that economic opportunity is a reality for every hard-working taxpayer in Michigan. We are committed to reducing the tax burden for the citizens of our great state.

For example, House Republicans passed new laws to help the dedicated men and women that so willingly give themselves in service to our country, our veterans. We felt that they have earned opportunities and advantages for their willingness to protect our way of life. It has been our commitment to help them in as many ways as possible when they return home to civilian life. One way we have been able to do just that was by passing a law that fully exempts totally and permanently disabled veterans from paying property tax on their main residence. This small measure doesn't match their sacrifice, but it will hopefully help ease their transition and long-term ability to live successful and productive lives in our great state.

Even the smallest of changes, can make the quality of life better for all of us in Michigan. For example we are working to pass a bill that reforms how we tax vehicle purchases. The idea behind the legislation is that vehicles should be taxed on their value minus the amount received for any "trade-ins." Currently, we are one of only six states that tax consumers on the full vehicle cost. There is no reason that Michigan, a world leader in the automotive industry, should have a tax policy that hurts car buyers as compared to nearly all other states.

House Republicans and I have also worked to make the state more accountable, efficient, and easier for everyone. This includes the common-sense reform that requires the Department of Treasury to pay Michigan residents additional interest for late tax refund payments. It is your money and you deserve to have it in a timely manner, the treasury should be held to the same standards that you and I are. As taxpayers we deserve fair and equitable treatment for receiving interest on late payments.

For these same reasons, House Republicans have passed a series of bills that makes the Treasury Department more accountable during the audit process. These changes in the law give us taxpayers more ability to access information regarding audits. Realistic expectations and fairness become part of the equation, which is what we deserve as taxpayers when it comes to the money we entrust to the state.

Michigan is turning around after a very difficult decade. For almost 10 years we struggled with recession and economic downturn. Many small businesses and individuals have had a hard time making tax payments either due to high tax burdens or simply the weak nature of the economy. Because of this reality, Republicans in the House are working on a bill that would allow treasury to make an "offer in compromise" program for certain taxpayers. This legislation is a fair and just approach toward helping some deserving taxpayers responsibly get back on track. While the economy is improving due to these changes and the improvement we made in the previous term to reduce the tax burden on small businesses, we are not done yet. House Republicans are committed to working tirelessly at improving the quality of life and increasing economic opportunities for all Michigan residents.

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