What the Heck is Going on in the State Legislature?

What’s the intra-caucus drama at the state Capitol?

Last week, Republican leaders in the state House forced a vote to reduce Michigan’s income tax. This is despite the fact they didn’t have enough votes to pass the proposal. The measure failed in a late-night session thrust upon lawmakers by the new state House Speaker Tom Leonard.

Leonard has said the first thing he wanted to do as speaker was hold a vote on cutting taxes. That decision all but killed the proposal, and some argued it undercut Leonard’s position as leader of his caucus. 

Rick Pluta, state Capitol Bureau Chief at Michigan Public Radio Network, talks with Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today about what is going on in the state Legislature.

Pluta says the failed income tax proposal, and the fallout, will be dealt with this week as Republicans and Democrats return to Lansing for work.

Pluta says Republican leadership “never fully answering the question ‘if we reduce the income tax rate, what are we going to do to accompany it in terms of budget cuts?’”

Governor Rick Snyder and other Republicans have not signed onto the income tax cut proposal. 

In an inexplicable twist to the failed income-tax proposal, Leonard stripped a fellow Republican of his committee chairmanship for apparently lying about how he’d vote on the income tax cut. Another Republican who voted against the measure was set to call for an investigation into Leonard for his actions, then he cancelled that announcement. 

To hear more from Pluta about just what the heck is going on in state politics, click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 


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