Honigman Capitol Report


Michigan Primary Turnout above Average

Last week’s primary in Michigan boasted above-average turnout with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson calling the 1.863 million turnout “inspiring.” President Biden easily won the Democratic primary with just above 80 percent of the vote while Donald Trump defeated South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley by taking more than two-thirds of the vote. While Biden handily won, the effort to vote Uncommitted to send a message to the president still received 13.25 percent of the votes. Super Tuesday this past week has now made the rematch between Biden and Trump official. More than a dozen states held primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday with Trump winning all but one state, Vermont, to Nikki Haley. Haley announced the following morning that she is exiting the primary, leaving Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee.


Redistricting Maps Move Forward

The group siding with Donald Agee proposed several changes last week to the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC)’s House map which is the subject of the federal lawsuit challenging the state’s adopted legislative redistricting plans. On March 1st, MICRC submitted its plan to the court and plaintiffs now have until today, March 8th, to file any objections. The federal district court is scheduled to make a final decision by March 29th. The proposed Motown Sound FCE1 map redrew 14 districts to address areas needed for space to fix the districts ruled unconstitutional. Once the court makes their final decision, the parties will meet and confer mid-April to determine a timeline for a remedial state Senate plan.


Marijuana Tax Payouts for Several Municipalities

The Michigan Department of Treasury announced that more than $87 million is being distributed to 269 municipalities and counties as part of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. The payments are allocated to 99 cities, 30 villages, 69 townships and 71 counties. For fiscal year 2023, each eligible municipality and county will receive over $59,000 for every licensed retailer or microbusiness location in its jurisdiction. In addition, $101.6 million was sent to the School Aid Fund for K-12 education and $101.6 million was distributed to the Michigan Transportation Fund. More information on how the payments are being distributed and how much each municipality and county are receiving can be found here.


Michigan Court of Appeals Rules on Income Tax Dispute

The Michigan Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision yesterday regarding the 2015 law which triggers an income tax cut based on revenue growth. The published order in Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan v Eubanks (Court of Appeals Docket No. 369314) addresses plaintiffs argument that the income tax should have been permanently settled at 4.05 percent after the reduction from 4.25 percent went into effect in 2023. The Court affirmed the previous ruling of Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher that the income tax cut is for one year only. Several Republican lawmakers and business friendly advocacy groups disagree with the decision and an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court is highly likely. The court opined that “the statute contains no language indicating a legislative intent to make the rate reduction under Subsection (1)(c) permanent” and that an interpretation that it does “would make each reduction permanent and allow compounding reductions that could ultimately result in no income tax. This would render nugatory the statutory language providing for an income tax." The full text of the opinion can be found here



Looking Ahead

As legislative budget committees move through stakeholder testimony, much of Lansing turns its focus to what does and doesn’t receive state investment for the next fiscal year. However, with state House and national elections in the fall, the time available from the end of winter through spring will also signal the largest opportunity this year for policy work until a potential lame duck session after Thanksgiving. Legislation has been quietly moving on topics ranging from restricting open carry of firearms in election polling locations to regulatory revisions on asbestos abatement and streamlining of economic development incentives for Renaissance Zones. We anticipate a more limited agenda on the House floor for the coming weeks with the continued 54-54 partisan divide. Meanwhile, the Senate continues to moves its priorities along in the process to have them in place for what will be a very busy agenda from late April through summer recess. With a few exceptions, the majority of policy and budget intended to pass on the House floor will see action in this same time window. This will create an extremely tense push among stakeholders for attention, as countless priorities for members are likely to lose out during this relatively short window.

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