Hansen offering useful guide for tax season

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan residents who are getting ready to file their taxes and want current information can contact Sen. Goeff Hansen’s office for a free taxpayer’s guide or can download the booklet from the senator’s website.

The Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 is a reference for the 2017 tax year and is designed to help residents prepare their state tax returns. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and does not affect individual income taxes for 2017.

“It is important to be accurate and up to date when doing your taxes,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “This free guide can help.”

The booklet contains information on Michigan’s income tax, property taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long listing of important property tax dates and deadlines as well as copies of the most commonly used tax forms. It also features addresses, phone numbers and email information for obtaining state agency tax assistance.

Hansen said the guide is meant as a helpful resource and not as a substitute for Michigan Department of Treasury tax instruction booklets.

Free copies of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 may be downloaded by clicking the Publications link, above.

Residents can also reserve a free copy by contacting Hansen’s office at 517-373-1635.

Hansen: New law will deter crime, save money

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — A new law sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen expands the number of crimes for which a person may be required to reimburse the state or local units of government.

Senate Bill 44, now Public Act 241 of 2017, adds a number of crimes to the list of those for which reimbursement of expenses may be ordered. These include retail fraud, dealing in stolen goods, and failure to make a court-ordered court appearance.

Hansen said the law came about in response to rising incidences of retail fraud at The Lakes Mall in Muskegon County and the strain on local law enforcement to serve the area.

“A number of retail fraud task forces have been created throughout the state to address the increasing number of people arrested for shoplifting or otherwise trying to defraud Michigan retailers,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “This law is a further deterrent to crime and will save money by reducing costs to the state and to local units of government.”

Hansen honors Muskegon High School state champions

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen (center right) stands in the Senate chamber Tuesday with the 2017 Division 3 state champion Muskegon High School football team and their coaches.

Hansen, R-Hart, presented a Senate tribute to the team and their quarterback, La’Darius Jefferson, who was named MLive 2017 Michigan High School Football Player of the Year after leading his team to a 14-0 record en route to the state championship.

Note: Click the image for a print-quality version. This photo and others are also available by selecting Photowire, above.

Hansen: We must reward hard work and attract young talent

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen on Tuesday attended Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018 State of the State address, which laid out the governor’s plan for continuing Michigan’s economic recovery.

Hansen, R-Hart, offered the following statement after the address:

“The past seven years have seen a tremendous recovery in Michigan, and tonight’s address highlighted our accomplishments and looked to the future.

“We have created 540,000 private-sector jobs during the comeback, and we have balanced the budget months ahead of time for seven straight years.

“In addition, the 122,800 manufacturing jobs created in Michigan since 2010 is the most in the entire U.S., and our income growth over that period is sixth highest in the nation.

“We can’t rest on these achievements. The governor stressed the need to continue to provide an environment in the state that rewards hard work and attracts young talent.

“Part of that effort is an investment in education. This year that includes the largest increase in the per-pupil foundation allowance ever.

“I agree with the governor on these priorities. I look forward to working with him in 2018 to make this and other important objectives a reality.”

Sen. Hansen welcomes Oceana County road commissioner to Capitol for State of the State

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, stands in the Senate chamber with Oceana County Road Commissioner Robert Carr (right). Carr joined Hansen for Gov. Rick Snyder’s final State of the State address Tuesday night.

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Sen. Goeff Hansen available for comments following 2018 State of the State address

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen will be available for comments following the governor’s 2018 State of the State address on Tuesday.

Who:
Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart.

What:
Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:
After the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Where:
By phone or in:
House Appropriations Room
Third floor
State Capitol
Lansing

Brief:
Hansen will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

He also will be available by phone. Please call Hansen’s office at 1-517-373-1635 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

Governor signs Hansen’s bill repealing failed keg tag law

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed Sen. Goeff Hansen’s legislation repealing a state law that failed to achieve its goal of curbing underage drinking.

Senate Bill 372, now Public Act 166 of 2017, eliminates a 2010 law establishing “keg registration requirements” that proponents had hoped would discourage those under 21 from drinking, especially on college campuses.

“The intent of the law was a noble one, but it was misguided,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Instead of cutting down on underage drinking, the implementation of keg tags seems to have simply changed the type of alcohol being purchased.”

Under the earlier law, to purchase a keg, the buyer was required to show identification and list their name, address and phone number on a receipt. In addition, a $30 keg deposit would not be returned unless the keg tag remained intact when the empty keg was returned.

When the law took effect in 2011, reductions in the sales of kegs were offset by increases in the sales of liquor, cases of beer and other alcohol that did not require registration or deposit.

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Hansen honors Hart High School state champions

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Goeff Hansen paid tribute in the Senate Wednesday to the Hart High School girls cross country team, which won the 2017 Michigan Division III cross country state championship.

“These girls and their coaches displayed tremendous tenacity and determination all year long, bringing home Hart High School’s first-ever team sports state championship,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “On top of that, the team tallied the best winning score in girls Division III history. Congratulations on an extraordinary season, ladies!”

With remarkable consistency, the team began its road to victory by capturing back-to-back regional championships, taking four of the top 10 placings and earning a bid to the state finals.

During the state final at the Michigan International Speedway, the Pirates placed runners in first, fifth, sixth, 16th, and 27th place.

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Hansen op-ed: Michigan must eliminate costly inequity among cancer treatments

Sen. Goeff Hansen

Sen. Goeff Hansen

By Sen. Goeff Hansen
34th Senate District

No one is ever prepared to receive the news that a family member, friend or co-worker has cancer. If it happens, and it happened to me with my son Collin, we experience a number of emotions. Most of all, though, we try to empathize and be supportive through an extremely difficult time.

Sometimes that support is driving a patient to their chemotherapy treatments or providing meals. Other times it is donating money to help someone afford their expensive copays for oral chemotherapy pills, which can cost $5,000 per month per prescription.

When speaking with doctors and patients, I was appalled to learn that health insurance plans treat the coverage of oral chemotherapy differently than chemotherapy received intravenously or by injection.

Because oral chemo is considered a pharmaceutical and not a medical benefit like IV or injection chemo, patients are forced to pay thousands of dollars more.

The cost of medicine is the last thing a loved one should have to worry about when they are bravely fighting for their life.

In response to this situation I sponsored Senate Bill 492, which would fix this inequity and ensure people can access the medicine they need. Forty-three other states have adopted similar legislation.

Some opposed to the measure claim insurance premiums would increase. However, they fail to mention other states have already debated this issue and found it to have little to no impact on premiums.

When it comes to treating cancer, people should not have to ration their medicine or skip it altogether because they cannot afford it. They have enough on their plate.

We need to fix the problem and make sure insurance plans provide equal, affordable coverage for chemotherapy regardless of how it administered.

The Michigan Senate passed this bipartisan bill by a vote of 36-1, and I thank my colleagues for their support.

I now urge my colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives to act swiftly and join us in passing this bipartisan, patient-focused proposal that will remove a major barrier to lifesaving treatments.

Senator Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, serves the residents of the 34th Senate District, representing Muskegon, Newaygo, and Oceana counties.