A local lawmaker is supporting legislation he maintains would provide tax relief to Michigan families and senior citizens.

The bills continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their income taxes, while providing additional relief for senior citizens. Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township voted for the three-bill package last week. Vaupel said the federal tax reform approved last month provided tax relief, but he believes more needs to be done to lift the tax burden from Michigan families and senior citizens. Vaupel said he believes it would not only improve the local economy by spurring consumer spending but also improve the quality of life for people in Livingston County. State Representative Lana Theis also voted in favor of the bills.

The three-bill package ensures Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month. The legislation also gradually increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,800 for the 2020 tax year. The legislation ensures taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions in relation to the Michigan income tax, rather than the federal tax code.

However, a spokesman for the state Budget Office said the cut could hurt Gov. Rick Snyder's plans to beef up road repair funding in the 2019 budget. Kurt Weiss said the governor is working with about $260 million to $280 million in "one-time" money that can be spent on one-time expenditures, and Snyder wants to wants to use a large chunk of it to improve state roads. House Bills 5420-22 now go to the Senate for consideration. (JM)