There are echoes of John Engler in Lansing as new Speaker of the House Tom Leonard took on the Republican establishment, stood strong for conservatives, and pressed his caucus to pass an income tax cut that would have rolled back the rate from 4.25% to 3.9% over four years.
The effort to pass the bill started early in the day and went on for hours and hours until it became clear that moderate Republicans weren’t going to support the tax cut. Legislative leaders from the previous decade probably would not have pushed the bill to begin with, or certainly would have pulled back to fight another time if they realized they didn’t have the votes. But new Speaker Tom Leonard has vowed to push forward with conservative policies such as reducing the income tax rate and repealing Common Core and he is making sure that State Representatives are on the record with their votes.
Some moderate legislators allowed themselves to be caught up in compromising positions. State Representative Jason Sheppard of Monroe was accused of outright lying to the Speaker of the House about the way that he would vote on the bill. He pledged a “yes” vote with conservatives, but instead voted “no”. He was removed as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee because of his dishonesty.
Leonard’s plan would have saved Michigan taxpayers over one billion dollars, but unfortunately 12 of the state House’s most moderate Republicans joined with Michigan’s Democratic caucus in a 52-55 vote that would lead to the bill’s eventual demise.
Republican legislators who voted no to the proposed tax cut are listed below:
- Chris Afendoulis – District 073
- Julie Calley – District 087
- Kathy Crawford – District 038
- Daniela Garcia – District 090
- Larry Inman – District 104
- Jim Lilly – District 089
- David Maturen – District 063
- Mike McCready – District 040
- Dave Pagel – District 070
- Brett Roberts – District 065
- Jason Sheppard – District 056
- Scott Van Singel – District 100