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Snyder wants state supreme court opinion on pension taxes

Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking to preempt legal challenges to his recently adopted tax plan by asking the Michigan Supreme Court to issue an opinion on the legality of taxing public pensions.

The Michigan State Employee Retirees Association claims that charging income tax on their pensions violates a state constitution prohibition on diminishing pension benefits, and has promised to sue.

Peter Luke at Mlive reports that Snyder told reporters Thursday that it would be more efficient to have the supreme court consider that constitutional issue before the tax goes into effect.

Under Snyder’s tax plan, filers born before 1946 would see no change from current law. Those born 1946-52 would receive an exemption of $20,000 for single filers and $40,000 for joint filers on pension income, public or private. Those born after 1952 would receive no exemption.

Snyder is also asking the court to rule whether assigning different pension exemptions based on age violates equal protection amendments in both the Michigan and U.S. constitutions.

[He] is also asking the court to determine whether ending the $3,700 personal exemption for single filers making $75,000 and joint filers making $150,000 violates the state constitution’s ban on a graduated income tax.

The tax on pensions is expected to bring in $343 million a year.

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