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House leader replaces panel chair he says lied

Posted at 7:21 AM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 10:52:19-05

4 a.m.

The fallout over Michigan House Republicans' failure to pass an income tax cut is already underway.

GOP House Speaker Tom Leonard announced after 3 a.m. Thursday that he removed Republican Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance as chairman of the Financial Services Committee. Leonard says Sheppard, who voted against a bill to cut the 4.25 percent income tax to 3.9 percent over four years, told him he would vote yes.

Leonard says in statement that it's "unacceptable" that Sheppard "lied" about his position. Sheppard could not immediately be reached to comment.

The House early Thursday fell three votes short of the 55 needed to move the legislation to the Senate.

Leonard named Republican Rep. Diana Farrington of Utica the new chairwoman of the committee. Sheppard will no longer serve on the panel.

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1:55 a.m.

The Republican-led Michigan House has defeated legislation to lower the state's income tax.

The bill that fell three votes short of passage early Thursday would lower the 4.25 percent tax to 4.05 percent by 2019 and then to 3.9 percent by 2021 as long as the state savings, or rainy day, fund is not below $1 billion.

Eleven Republicans joined all but one Democrat in opposing the legislation.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has voiced concerns about the budget implications of a tax cut.

Conservatives say Michigan's income tax should return to 3.9 percent, where it was as recently as 2007 before being increased to address a budget deficit.

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12:25 a.m.

The Michigan House is meeting overnight as majority Republicans struggle to gain support for an income tax cut.

Legislation that would reduce the 4.25 tax to 3.9 percent over four years is on the agenda for a vote. But the GOP is at odds early Thursday over the proposal that's opposed by Democrats. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has cited "serious concerns" about the budget implications of the tax cut.

Conservatives say Michigan's income tax should return to 3.9 percent, where it was as recently as 2007 before being increased to address a budget deficit. New House Republican leaders are making the tax cut a priority early in the two-year term.

Snyder says taxes already have been lowered under his watch.

The House session began Wednesday afternoon and extended beyond midnight.