Reduction for households fighting inflation, fuel costs

Families in Monroe and Lenawee counties and across our state are dealing with the highest inflation in 40 years and gas prices that have skyrocketed to record levels.

Inflation has a real and direct impact on people’s lives — as the costs of virtually everything increases faster than family budgets can keep up.

From April 2021 to April 2022, grocery prices increased by 10.8% — with the costs of meats, poultry, fish and eggs increasing 14.3%.

The summer cookout is an illustration of inflation’s impact. The price of ground beef is up 14.8%, bacon is up 17.7%, cheese costs 6.5% more, lettuce is up 12.7%, pickles are up 9.3% and the hamburger buns will cost eaters 10% more this year.

At the same time, everyone from workers and seniors to schools and small businesses are feeling the pain of record high gas prices.

According to AAA, on June 3, the average per gallon for regular gasoline in Michigan was $4.94 and the average diesel price was $5.46. Both prices are the highest recorded average prices in state history.

At these prices, it costs workers over $180 to fill up their Ford F-250 truck with diesel fuel and parents will need to pay $89 to gas up the family Chrysler minivan.

My Republican colleagues and I saw what was happening and took action. We passed two commonsense plans to reduce inflation’s impact on Michigan families by allowing everyone to keep more of what they earned and by providing significant relief at the gas pump.

Unfortunately, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed both of these sensible relief proposals.

Undeterred, we passed a second plan to help every Michigander by lowering the state’s income tax to 4%, increasing the personal income tax deduction by $1,800, creating a $500 tax credit for each child under the age of 19, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, and boosting the tax exemption for Michigan seniors over 67 to $21,800 for individuals and $43,600 for couples.

The Senate also passed a plan to suspend the state’s 27.2 cents per gallon excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel and Michigan’s 6% sales and use taxes on motor fuel from June 15 to Sept. 15.

The bill will hold local governments and public schools harmless.

These new plans would save drivers over $800 million at the pump throughout the summer driving season and provide taxpayers with roughly $2.5 billion in income tax relief.

Our state is seeing a historic surplus that was recently estimated to be $5 billion more than projected four months ago.

Efficient use of taxpayer dollars has put us in a position where we can afford to provide this critical relief — and there’s no better time than now when folks are struggling with the skyrocketing costs of everyday items.

I respectfully ask the governor to join the Legislature and put people over government spending by supporting these affordable and responsible efforts to reduce the burdens on Michigan families trying to make ends meet.

Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Onsted, represents Michigan’s 17th District, which includes Monroe and Lenawee counties.