News from State Representative Howell – Bill to protect homeowners

Rep. Howell introduces bill to protect homeowners in tax foreclosure proceedings

LANSING, Mich. – State Rep. Gary Howell has introduced legislation that would allow Michigan homeowners involved in tax foreclosures to keep any excess sale proceeds which should be rightfully theirs.

“Currently, when a tax foreclosure sale takes place, the government keeps all of the money raised by the sale — rather than just being reimbursed for the taxes and fees owed to the county,” Howell, of North Branch, explained. “Not only does the county recover what it is owed, but it is also allowed to keep the equity in the home that should properly go to the individual who owned the home. I find it unfair that Michigan allows this practice – and the plan I have introduced in the Legislature will set things right.”

Rep. Howell credits Lapeer County attorney John Lengemann for bringing the matter to his attention.

“I applaud Rep. Howell for seeing the need for a change in tax foreclosure law and for addressing the matter,” Lengemann said. “I have worked in this area of the law for several years and have seen firsthand the unfortunate manner in which homeowners with tax problems have seen their hard-earned money go to the government rather than to themselves. It is long overdue that homeowners receive what is rightfully theirs. The government is entitled to the taxes and fees due, but nothing more.”

Howell was particularly pleased that it was a Lapeer County resident who brought the issue to him.

“I have had several occasions where Lapeer County residents have approached me with valid suggested changes in the law,” Howell said. “This is an example as to why I make it a point to stay in touch with my constituents.

“I appreciate John taking the time to point out this glaring injustice,” Howell said. “It is grossly unfair that after creating hard-earned equity in a home, the county would keep all of the money from a sale. The homeowner is left entirely out in the cold.”

House Bill 4219 has been referred to House Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance.

News from the Office of State Rep. Gary Howell – Reappointed Chair

Howell reappointed chair of House natural resources committee

LANSING, Mich. — State Rep. Gary Howell, of North Branch, has been named chair of the powerful House Committee on Natural Resources for a second consecutive term.

“Michigan’s natural resources are among the most remarkable in the world, including our vast freshwater reserves. I am eager to continue my work on policies that will keep our forests, lakes and streams safe and available to families and outdoor enthusiasts across the state,” said Howell, who will lead the committee for the 2019-20 legislative term. “The safety and security of our land and water has been a topic of both statewide and national conversation. I look forward to the opportunity to tackle a number of important natural resource policy issues in the upcoming term.”

During the last legislative term, Howell established himself as a leader in improving statutes and regulations protecting Michigan’s natural resources. He has sponsored successful legislation to strengthen landfill standards as well as adopting the first DNR public land use strategy in state history. Howell was also noted for his efforts to roll back regulations that hindered volunteer organizations from restoring local wetlands. As a result, Howell was named “2018 Legislator of the Year” by both Ducks Unlimited and Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Howell will also serve as a member of the House Committees on Local Government, Transportation, and Judiciary during this term.

2018/01/17 – News from State Rep. Gary Howell’s office

Howell: Veto override helps Michigan auto industry, vehicle buyers

Legislation accelerates sales tax trade-in reforms

2018/01/17:  State Rep. Gary Howell has voted to accelerate sales tax relief for Michigan car buyers, joining his House colleagues in overriding a gubernatorial veto.

The House vote means additional tax relief for people buying cars, trucks and SUVs with a trade-in. Current law calls for phasing in planned sales and use tax deductions on purchases including a trade-in through 2039. With today’s vote, the reductions will be fully implemented a decade earlier.

“Michigan’s auto industry leads the nation. It’s critical to our economy,” said Howell, of North Branch, after the House joined the Senate in overriding a veto by Gov. Rick Snyder. “We must do all we can to keep the auto industry strong, and this measure will help boost sales in Michigan.”

The Senate bills overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature were vetoed by the governor in July.

“There are times when I have to disagree with a governor from my own party, and this is one of those times,” Howell said.

The new law speeds reforms approved in 2013, allowing buyers to subtract the value of their trade-ins from the purchase price of a vehicle for sales tax purposes. The accelerated sales tax relief also will apply to boats and recreational vehicles bought with a trade-in.