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Dear Friends:

Happy New Year! Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and provide updates about what is going on at Michigan’s Capitol.

I am the state senator for the 18th District – covering all of Barry County and parts of Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ionia counties. Please feel free to contact me with any issues related to state government at [email protected], or by calling 517-373-1734 (toll-free at 855-347-8018).


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Thomas Albert
State Senator

Office hours scheduled for Ionia and Kent counties

I plan to host local office hours on Friday, Jan. 12, at two locations:

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Lake Odessa Community Library, 1007 Fourth Ave. in Lake Odessa.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 11826 Fulton St. E. in Lowell.

Office hours are open to district residents to talk about issues related to state government or to request assistance with a state issue. No appointment is necessary, but space may be limited at some locations. Priority will be given to constituents seeking to discuss issues requiring privacy or individual attention.

Office hours in other 18th District locations will be scheduled at a later date.

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Legislature’s new year begins Jan. 10

The Michigan Legislature is scheduled to reconvene Jan. 10 and I believe there is a better way forward for the state in 2024.

First, we should lower taxes and rein in government spending. Based on a previously existing state law, Michigan’s personal income tax rate fell to 4.05% for 2023. I believe this reduction should be permanent and I support efforts to keep the lower tax rate in place.

Unfortunately, a recent Michigan Court of Claims ruling — agreeing with an opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel — could leave the tax cut in place for 2023 only. This ruling is likely to be appealed.

The new year will also bring another state budget cycle to Michigan. I will propose restrained government spending to fight inflation, pay down debt and save for a rainy day. When we invest, we should do so with a long-term benefit in mind — such as an increased commitment to schools and local road repairs that communities need to prosper.

We should also rein in corporate welfare. I have proposed eliminating the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund and returning that money to the general fund, where it can be put to better use and also help provide sustainable tax relief.

We must abandon the centralized control “big government” approach of the past year. Instead, Democrats and Republicans should work together to help job creators and communities build from the ground up — making Michigan a better place to work, live and raise a family.

Are Michigan’s electric vehicle policies working?

In the past year, Gov. Whitmer and her Democratic allies have taken several steps to try and force the automotive market toward electric vehicles. This misguided approach is hurting taxpayers.

I want to be very clear. I am not against EVs. But I am against the government helping build and buy them with taxpayer money, especially when there are clear signs the market is not ready.

Plans for EV or EV battery production have been scaled down in many places across the country, including a battery factory planned in Marshall. Half of the nation’s Ford dealers have opted to sell only internal combustion engine or hybrid models in 2024, according to media reports. Nearly half the nation’s Buick dealers took buyouts in 2023 rather than investing in the service or sale of electric vehicles.

Yet the state continues to invest taxpayer money in this shaky market. Michigan has approved corporate welfare connected with EV projects and implemented plans to convert its own fleet to electric vehicles — even though these vehicles are more costly compared to gas-powered alternatives. And now, the governor is proposing a vehicle tax rebate plan that would apply only to new vehicle purchases, heavily weighted in favor of those who buy expensive EVs.

Whitmer’s plan would provide rebates of up to $2,500 for those buying new electric vehicles, compared to $1,000 for those who buy new internal combustion engine vehicles. Also, her plan does nothing to help Michiganders who need help the most — those who rely on used vehicles and can’t afford new vehicles of any kind. Michiganders who are working hard just to make ends meet in a time of high inflation are most in need of a tax break.

Whitmer’s population council releases report

The Growing Michigan Together Council was established by Gov. Whitmer in June 2023 to develop a plan to address Michigan’s population decline. Last month, the council released its report. Unfortunately, it was a missed opportunity to advance meaningful solutions.

The council made some recommendations but didn’t estimate costs, suggest ways to pay for them, or evaluate return on investment for taxpayers.

With so many people leaving the state, the only way to raise revenue would be to increase taxes on the residents who still live here. With prices on everything from groceries to homes so high, the last thing Michigan needs is more taxes.

Michigan’s population trends are cause for concern. I will continue to advocate for lower taxes and responsible economic strategies that will help our state grow.

Federal judges order redrawing of 13 Michigan legislative districts

Federal judges have ruled that 13 of the state legislative maps in and around Detroit, drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, are unconstitutional and will have to be redrawn. An appeal is possible. These are the new boundary maps for the Legislature first used in the 2022 election.

At this point, it is uncertain how the maps will be redrawn, or what impact this might have on election schedules. But it does highlight the failures of the redistricting commission.

Michigan's 18th Senate District

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Senator Thomas A. Albert
4500 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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