Pension tax a concern for citizens in upcoming election - WNEM TV 5

Pension tax a concern for citizens in upcoming election

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GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Election Day is less than a month away, and as the races heat up, some candidates are targeting the senior vote.

Some local seniors expressed their concern with a tax hike on their retirement incomes.

"The amount of taxes they're taking from me affects my daily living," Linda Hagensen said.

Hagensen is like many Michigan seniors who live on a fixed income. She's struggling to get by. She spent most of her adult life working on the assembly line at General Motors.

"I'm a working class person, working class people work," she said.

A disability left her barely able to walk. Now she relies on her pension and social security to make ends meet. She said Gov. Rick Snyder's tax increase on retirement income that took effect in 2012 has forced her to make tough choices.

"Freedom and independence is something I have worked for my entire life, and to have it taken away by someone who thinks that people with lots of money shouldn't have to pay taxes and people with very little should pay extra taxes - I don't see the logic there," Hagensen said.

Ken Thomas joined other democratic candidates running for state representative seats on Monday to campaign against the tax hikes to a crowd of seniors at an assisted living center in Clio.

"You know you've worked all your life to finally save enough money and then they changed the game," Thomas said.

He said Democrats have introduced a bill to repeal the taxes on seniors' retirement income.

"I believe that we have to have a fair system. We have to set our own priorities," Thomas said.

TV5 reached out to Thomas' opponent and current state representative Joseph Graves to get his response.

"I have a bill in committee to repeal the pension tax because I never thought it was the right thing to do," Graves said in a statement.

As for Hagensen, she said she just wants both sides to find a common sense solution.

"It should be a fair share burden," she said.

The Michigan Republican Party released a statement saying the tax increase is about keeping a balanced budget, and they said Democrats don't have a plan to make those repeal promises a reality.

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