Chaos erupts at Michigan Capitol as Senate adjourns abruptly amid tax bill dispute

(Sara Schulz, WILX)
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 9:27 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Chaos erupted at the Michigan Capitol as Senate Republican lawmakers abruptly adjourned for the weekend while Democratic lawmakers were meeting privately Thursday.

The disagreement started when the House passed a bill that would ease taxes for low-income workers and give tax-paying Michiganders a $180 check.

Related: Gov. Whitmer announces ‘largest tax break for working families’

When the bill moved to the Senate, Democratic lawmakers were meeting in private and were not on the Senate floor. That’s when Republican Sen. Joe Bellino went up to the podium and with gavel in hand, accepted a Republican motion to adjourn the session.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said the abrupt adjournment was a desperate way for Senate Republican lawmakers to avoid passing a bill they don’t want to take effect immediately.

“We are focused on putting money in people’s pockets,” Gilchrist said. “Literally a plan that would give every Michigan taxpayer $180 in addition to the tax relief that we are putting in place for Michigan families. It’s those Republicans playing games literally playing with gavels so they can run away from their responsibilities and run away from the people of Michigan and the support that they deserve.”

On the other side of the aisle, Republican Sen. Lana Theis said Democratic lawmakers were trying to push the bill through without discussion.

“We need to be able to be a voice for our constituents and right now, this process, they prohibited that and it’s going to equate to a tax increase for our citizens,” Theis said. “We have a right to speak on that. We should be fighting back on their behalf.”

As it stands, Senate Democrats need six Republicans to support the measure for it to take immediate effect. The Senate will meet again next Tuesday.

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