Skubick: Governor tells candidates to keep their hands off Pension Tax

Michigan

In a rare comment on what’s unfolding in the race for governor, Gov. Rick Snyder is telling the two candidates to stay away from one of his legacy issues.

Former Gov. Bill Milliken left office and handed a deficit to the incoming Gov. Jim Blanchard, who then left office and left behind a pile of red ink for Gov. John Engler, who, of course, left office saddling the new Governor Jennifer Granholm with her own deficit.

And she left a deficit for Gov. Snyder.

Suffice it to say this governor does not want to continue the forty-eight year tradition because part of his legacy is to leave the state in the black, not the red.

But Mr. Snyder is concerned with what he heard in the debate for governor.

Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette both endorsed wiping out the Snyder pension tax on seniors.

To date, the governor has not said anything about the race for governor but on this one, with his deficit legacy at risk, he is firm and direct to both candidates.

“I don’t believe it should be changed because we’re trying to help people whether you had a pension or not and you’re a senior citizen,” said Snyder.

But the candidates reject the fairness argument. They argue seniors should be allowed to deduct their pension earnings on the state income tax form.

But the governor warns, that would reduce incoming state revenue. “This exemption would require finding a couple of million dollars of revenue.”

The two candidates have not said where they would find the money to make up the lost dollars.

The candidates know that seniors vote in large numbers and giving them a tax break during an election could produce votes for their candidacy, regardless of what the current governor says.

And he says, “we changed the law to be fair to all Michiganders.” 

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