LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Roger Hauck on Wednesday voted against a Democrat-led initiative that changes the way certain foods are taxed in the state of Michigan.
“This is a tone-deaf money grab coming at a time when businesses and residents can least afford it,” said Hauck, R-Mt. Pleasant. “The governor and legislative leadership approved hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and tax incentives for major, global corporations and are sticking it to small businesses with these burdensome tax bills, proposed energy requirements, new taxes and other heavy-handed government mandates.
“For some reason, the targeting of small businesses seems to be increasing under current leadership.”
House Bills 4377 and 4378 would amend Michigan tax law to expand sales and use taxes on prepared food. The bills add definitions of the terms “food sold with eating utensils provided by the seller” and “food sold in an unheated state by weight or volume as a single item” as they relate to the definition of “prepared food” and the exemption of the sale or purchase of food or food ingredients.
For example, these new taxes would apply to unsweetened iced tea but not sweetened iced tea and to a bag of chips made in Michigan but not a bag of candy from another state.
“It just isn’t sensible,” Hauck said. “Tax policy is complicated enough, and these convoluted and confusing tax changes fall short of common sense and will surely have a more negative impact on small family businesses. Of all the legislative priorities and issues facing Michigan right now, I just don’t see how these bills made it to the top of the list.”
Hauck said he did, however, expect some tax changes after the Democrat majority spent down the state’s savings and passed the largest budget in state history.
“Blowing through our savings and passing a bloated budget full of programs for this and programs for that doesn’t come cheap. The Democratic majority and the governor’s administration are scrambling to bring more money in because they’ve already spent what we had in just a few months,” Hauck said.
Despite the senator’s no vote, the measures were passed by the Senate and now head back to the House to be enrolled and presented to the governor.