Freshman Republican Congressman Paul Mitchell went on a rant today against Lt. Gov. Brian Calley after the 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate correctly warned that the tax reform bill passed in Congress last month could mean tax increases for many Michigan workers.

Gov. Rick Snyder and his state Treasurer Nick Khouri recently sounded the alarm that the federal tax overhaul signed into law by President Trump requires a quick fix by the Michigan Legislature in order to avoid a widespread tax hike across the Great Lakes State. As some economic analysts have projected that Michigan faces a $1.5 billion tax increase if the Legislature does not act, Calley stepped forward earlier this week to propose a solution.

Numerous news reports have pointed out that hidden tax increases for many states, due to the elimination of IRS tax exemptions, was never openly revealed by congressional Republicans such as Mitchell, R-Dryden, who voted for and praised the tax reform bill. Now, officials in numerous states are scrambling to alter their tax code so that the congressional action doesn’t boost income tax revenues in their state.

Calley

Mitchell went on Facebook today to slam a Calley email sent to Republican activists on Tuesday that raised the hidden-tax hike issue. Mitchell, who succeeded Candice Miller in Congress, suggested that Calley is “spreading falsehoods” about a tax hike that does not exist. The congressman said the tax reform bill allows states to amend their tax laws to avoid a tax hike.

Months ago, Mitchell hardily endorsed Attorney Bill Schuette, Calley’s main Republican opponent for governor in the upcoming August primary.

In his Facebook message, Mitchell also bashed Calley, a former state representative, for his track record of supporting various plans during the Granholm and Snyder administrations that boosted taxes — or could have — for certain segments of the population.

Meanwhile, Mitchell has experienced his own rocky road on the path to the 10th Congressional District seat, while emerging on Capitol Hill as an avid Trump supporter. He supports a modest rollback of the state income tax rate, which was once promised by Granholm, though that proposal would provide the average worker a few bucks a week while delivering much more to multi-millionaires like Mitchell, a former company CEO.

As for Calley, who disowned Trump after the “grab ‘em by the p—–” tape emerged weeks before the 2016 election, he has tried to play it both ways by claiming that he voted a straight Republican ticket in November ’16 — so he did vote for the president.

But Calley’s inclinations seem to remain within the ideological framework of a moderate Republican, as he has championed expansion of mental health programs and increased funding for treatment of autisitic children. His campaign spokesman, Mike Schrimpf, has worked for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a leader of the #NeverTrump movement in 2016 and the only centrist who competed against Trump in the GOP presidential primaries.

What’s at stake in this increasingly strange debate is this:  The GOP tax reform bill eliminated the personal exemption – the piece of the federal tax code that led parents for decades to playfully remark that their newborn offered them a new tax deduction. But states like Michigan levied state income taxes based on the adjusted income – minus deductions, credits and exemptions – that was reported by a household on their IRS tax form. So, no personal exemptions means higher state taxes for many Michigan families.