Tax relief legislation sees final approval from Legislature

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker would ensure state and local exemptions remain in place despite recent changes on the federal level.

“The recent federal changes were largely welcomed in my district, though many have shown some confusion or uncertainty as to what the federal changes may mean for next year’s taxes,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “These measures will ensure Michigan residents are able to claim the personal exemption on their state and local income taxes.”

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in addition to lowering income tax rates, included a process that set the federal personal exemption to zero. Though the exemption is not explicitly eliminated by the new law, Michigan’s current state income tax law ties the state’s personal exemptions to the federal number of exemptions. Without a revision to the law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim the personal exemptions on their state taxes.

Senate Bill 748 makes necessary changes to maintain the state’s personal exemption, while SB 750 would provide the same assurance for city income taxes.

SB 748 would also increase the state’s personal exemption to $4,900 by 2021. In 2018, the exemption would be $4,050. It would increase to $4,400 in 2019, to $4,750 in 2020 and finally to $4,900 in 2021.

“These bills allow residents to keep these much-needed, and much-deserved exemptions,” Schuitmaker said. “When coupled with the recent federal tax reforms, Michiganders should be able to start putting more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.”

The bills will now go to Gov. Rick Snyder for further consideration.


Lawmakers to host university presidents to discuss sexual misconduct policies, necessary changes

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

LANSING, Mich. — Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education on Wednesday morning kicked off a series of meetings to discuss current sexual misconduct policies at Michigan’s public universities and meaningful changes that each institution can make to further ensure the safety of their students.

“I have always made it a priority to fight for measures that reduce sexual assaults, especially on our college campuses,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, who chairs the Senate subcommittee. “We need university administrators, lawmakers, students and parents to all come together and work to keep our kids safe.”

Wednesday’s committee meeting was the first of many meetings that will give lawmakers and university presidents a chance to discuss flaws in the current system and what changes can be made to prevent something like the tragedy at Michigan State from ever happening again. The meeting also featured a presentation by representatives from Western Michigan University on Title IX compliance and necessary measures schools must take to keep students safe.

The presentation was meant to help familiarize committee members with federal laws and guidelines universities must follow regarding sexual assault claims. The committee will begin taking testimony from the university presidents in the coming weeks.

All of the state’s university presidents will be asked to testify on behalf of their institution’s policies and initiatives during upcoming committee hearings. Committee members have also asked the university leaders to be prepared to answer Title IX questions before formal testimony begins.

Schuitmaker said she looks forward to working with stakeholders to expand protections for students and resources available for victims, and for those who may have questions.

“This is just the first step in recovering from the recent tragedy that has plagued one of our state’s major universities,” she said. “This cannot happen again and we need to do more to ensure our state’s institutions are in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, as well as constantly seeking to improve the safety of students.”

She also noted that it is important to differentiate the committee’s duties with those of law enforcement.

“It is important to note that this committee’s role is not to investigate the tragedy that happened,” Schuitmaker said. “Our job is to prevent it from ever happening again.”

Future meetings can be found by clicking here, or on the Legislature’s home page at and by clicking “Committee Meetings” on the left side of the screen.




Sen. Schuitmaker announces February office hours

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, announced that February office hours are scheduled for the 26th Senate District.

Schuitmaker’s district director, Deb Shields, will be available to meet with constituents at the following dates, times and locations:

Thursday, Feb. 8

10 – 11 a.m.

Antwerp Township Hall

24821 Front St.



Friday, Feb. 16

10 – 11 a.m.

Fennville City Hall

222 S. Maple St.



11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Mug Shots Coffeehouse

340 Water St.



1 – 2 p.m.

Plainwell City Hall

211 N. Main St.



Wednesday, Feb. 21

10 – 11 a.m.

Railroad Café

555 Railroad St.



Noon – 1 p.m.

Saugatuck-Douglas Library

10 Mixer St.



Schuitmaker welcomes area residents to attend mobile district office hours this month hosted by District Director Deb Shields throughout Van Buren and Allegan counties, as well as Kentwood and Gaines Township.

Shields will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns that residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, please contact Deb Shields at (269) 303-5564 or by email at