Welcome to my first monthly e-newsletter of 2024! As your state representative in the 102nd Michigan Legislature, I am happy to provide these regular updates on my legislative work. In this issue, you will find information on my upcoming events, a legislative update, tax season savings reminders, news on funding coming to our district, additional opportunities for local organizations and residents, and resources for how my office can assist you!
Neighbors and friends in House District 103 are encouraged to also sign up for these updates at my website, RepCoffia.com. You can reach my office by phone at (517) 373-3817 or by email at BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov. Be sure to check out the latest on my social media platforms as well. As this legislative session continues, I welcome your continued feedback and encourage you to reach out if my team and I can ever be of assistance to you!
House District 103
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, center, speaks with colleagues on the House floor.
Monthly Legislative Coffee Hours
During my first year in office in 2023, I held three in-person coffee hours monthly in each of the counties that I represent so constituents had ample opportunity to connect with their new state representative. This has given me invaluable feedback from 103rd constituents to hone my policy focus. It’s been a pleasure connecting with you all and getting to know more about your priorities!
We received helpful feedback from constituents who could not make the in-person coffee hours, and our team has incorporated your input by changing up the format for 2024. I will continue to take the feedback and priorities that you have all shared with me into action with a monthly in-person coffee hour in all three counties on a rotating basis. Additionally, to add more accessibility and flexibility for constituents, we will also offer a virtual coffee hour later in the day.
Please join me at my upcoming 2024 coffee hours, where I will continue to give legislative updates and take your questions about the issues facing our state and our community! These events are a great way to find out what policies I’m working on and to share your ideas and concerns with me. I look forward to continued conversations with constituents in Benzie, Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties in 2024!
Please save the dates for my upcoming in-person legislative coffee hours in 2024, listed below. They are typically held on the second Monday of the month and will run from noon to 1 p.m.
- Feb. 12 — Benzie County: Red Door Coffee House (19631 Maple St., Lake Ann, MI 49650)
- March 11 — Leelanau County: Government Center (8527 E. Government Center Drive, Suttons Bay, MI 49682)
- April 8 — Grand Traverse County: Traverse Area District Library, Main Branch (610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City, MI 49686)
- May 13 — Benzie County: Red Door Coffee House
- June 10 — Leelanau County: Government Center
- July 8 — Grand Traverse County: Traverse Area District Library
- Aug. 12 — Benzie County: Red Door Coffee House
- Sept. 9 — Leelanau County: Government Center
- Oct. 14 — Grand Traverse County: Traverse Area District Library
- Nov. 11 – Benzie County: Red Door Coffee House
- Dec. 9 — Leelanau County: Government Center
Virtual coffee hours will also be held on the dates listed above at 4 p.m. I am committed to being accessible to my constituents, and these virtual coffee hours will allow more people the opportunity to participate and share their questions and input on state-level issues. Be sure to continue following these email updates for additional location information, meeting times, virtual links and any changes to the schedule. I look forward to seeing you!
State Rep. Betsy Coffia speaks with constituents at a recent coffee hour.
This has been the most productive legislative term in years, if not in decades. The Legislature passed over 320 bills that have been signed into law so far, the vast majority with bipartisan support. Last year, the House voted more days than any of the previous legislatures had over the last 20 years. The work does not stop here. It is my great honor to put the people of Michigan first by delivering on our promises, and I am ready to keep the momentum moving forward in 2024.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, bottom center, participates in a virtual panel on bipartisanship, hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area.
The Legislature met in Lansing for the first time this year on Jan. 10, and committees and legislative session are back in motion. In the district, I was recently able to join a bipartisan virtual panel on “A Day in the Life of a Legislator” with the League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area (LWVGTA) and fellow state Rep. John Roth. We had a wide-ranging discussion on bipartisanship and finding shared goals in a politically divided state.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, shares a laugh with colleagues state Sen. John Damoose, left, and state Rep. Curt VanderWall. Each was participating on a bipartisan panel regarding the need for more affordable housing in Northern Michigan, co-hosted in Traverse City by MSHDA and Traverse Connect.
I was also able to join a bipartisan legislative panel at the Northern Michigan Policy Conference regarding legislative priorities, along with a bipartisan legislative panel on housing co-hosted by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Traverse Connect. Additionally, I participated in an interview with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer here in the 103rd District on the recent repeal of the state’s retirement tax and connected House Speaker Joe Tate with my constituents and local officials to discuss their most pressing issues for the Legislature to tackle in 2024.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, left, speaks as part of a bipartisan panel with the Northern Caucus at the 2024 Northern Michigan Policy Conference.
As always, legislation I have sponsored can be found here or by going to legislature.mi.gov, clicking “Legislators” and then selecting “Sponsored Legislation” under my name. My co-sponsored legislation — which another legislator has sponsored, but to which I have added my name in support — can be found here. Real-time updates on my legislative work can also be found here.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, left, takes part in an interview alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
- House Dems Champion Community Advocated Initiatives, Passion Becoming Policy
- Gov. Whitmer Announces Michigan Wins Rural Transportation Grant to Increase Connectivity, Improve Quality of Life, and Generate Economic Growth in Northern Michigan
- Governor Whitmer Signs Historic Election Bills Package to Ensure Every Vote Can be Cast and Counted
- Two Michigan Cheesemakers Receive Awards at World Competition
- LEO – Roadmap to Rural Prosperity Released to Equip Michigan’s Rural Communities with Strategies to Build Long-Term Prosperity
- Rep. Coffia Calls on Congress to Restore Child Care Funding
State Rep. Betsy Coffia, center, meets with colleagues on the House floor.
Putting Money Back in
Working Families’ and Seniors’ Pockets
Working Families Tax Credit
Earlier this term, I was proud to vote to expand the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Working Families; it had been cut to 6% in 2012 by the Snyder administration despite proven benefits for working families. The EITC is a tax credit for working individuals with income below a certain level. The Michigan tax credit is similar to the federal EITC. The Lowering MI Costs Plan quintupled the Michigan EITC from 6% of the federal EITC to 30%, significantly expanding savings for Michigan taxpayers. In the 103rd, about 5,000 working families will qualify for this tax credit with an estimated $3 million back into the local economy for necessities like school clothing, car repairs, and other needs.
The expanded Michigan EITC is retroactive to the 2022 tax year (last tax season), but the law change did not take effect when it was passed due to a lack of support from Republican senators. The law will take effect on Feb. 13.
Tax Year 2022 (Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022; due Apr. 18, 2023)
Federally eligible individuals who claimed the Michigan EITC on their 2022 MI-1040 received the original 6% credit. Between tax year 2022 and tax year 2023, the Michigan Department of Treasury addressed impacted returns. On Feb. 13, Treasury will begin issuing supplemental check payments over a five- to six-week period to provide eligible taxpayers with the remaining 24% portion of the credit.
These paper check payments will be issued to the most recent address on file with Treasury. If you have moved frequently or recently and have concerns about your address accuracy, you can manually update it through IIT eService. Visit how to change your address with Treasury for more information. Do not file an amended 2022 individual income tax return in an attempt to change your address or claim the increased Michigan EITC.
Tax Year 2023 (Jan. 1, 2023 – Dec. 31, 2023; due Apr. 15, 2024)
Michigan’s 2023 tax return, forms, and instructions (e-file and paper format) reflect the expanded Michigan EITC created in the new law. Although the law will not take effect until Feb. 13, 2024, Michigan EITC eligible individuals should not delay in filing their tax year 2023 return and claiming the expanded credit. Treasury will address impacted returns as they are received and prepare them for release as soon as the law takes effect.
Please visit https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/iit/eitc for more information.
Retirement Tax Rollback
One of the first actions of the new Democratic trifecta was enacting the Lowering MI Costs Plan, repealing the Snyder-era 2012 tax on Michiganders’ retirement. Repealing the retirement tax provides an estimated 500,000 retirees with more options to choose the best taxing situation for their retirement benefits. Although subject to a four-year phase-in period beginning tax year 2023, this new law essentially restores the pre-2012 public and private retirement income subtraction for most taxpayers in Michigan beginning in 2026. This law change will ultimately benefit most retirees in Michigan while ensuring that taxpayers in unique circumstances are not harmed.
The phase-in of this retirement tax repeal will begin on Feb. 13. Retirees can file and take advantage of the expanded retirement income subtraction options at the start of tax season, which saves taxpayers time and eliminates the need or expense of filing an amended return after the law takes effect. For that reason, eligible retirees should not delay in filing their tax year 2023 return and claiming the most advantageous pension and retirement benefit subtraction. Treasury will address impacted returns as they are received and prepare them for release as soon as the law takes effect.
Please visit https://www.michigan.gov/taxes/iit/retirement-and-pension-benefits for more information.
Funding Coming to the 103rd District
I am thrilled to share that our communities in Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties in the 103rd House District have recently been awarded the following grant funding from the state:
- Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan — $1,556,169: The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced that Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan will receive this funding as part of the MI Impact Grant program to create or expand programming that lifts Michiganders out of poverty and above the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) threshold.
- Homestretch Nonprofit Housing Corporation — $50,000: LEO’s Office of Rural Prosperity has awarded this funding through the Rural Readiness Grant Program to address needs in our region related to child care, housing and economic development by increasing capacity with municipalities during predevelopment.
- District Health Department #10 — $50,000: This funding from the Rural Readiness Grant Program will be utilized to better share health care data in our region to address rural barriers to health care, including social determinants of health.
- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and LEO announced the following awardees from the Going PRO Talent Fund to help train, develop and retain current and newly hired employees. Applications for Cycle 2 will open in spring 2024.
- Northwest Michigan Works!: $1,276,801
- Medilodge of Leelanau: $27,900
- Medilodge of GTC: $9,500
- Medilodge of Traverse City: $25,500
- Feyen Zylstra Traverse City: $38,000
Grant Funding Opportunities
Current federal and state grant opportunities include:
- Lead Line Replacement Grant: All publicly owned community drinking water systems are eligible for this funding through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). There are no local match requirements. Proposals will be accepted until Jan. 31.
- Lake Michigan Circuit Grant: EGLE has funding available to public, private or nonprofit entities for deploying publicly available fast-charging electric vehicle stations. Applications close Jan. 31.
- Clean School Bus Rebates: The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened applications for its program that will help school districts replace older diesel school buses with zero-tailpipe-pollution electric buses. Diesel buses create pollution that harms our children’s health — triggering asthma attacks, interfering with lung development and even raising the risk of cancer. School districts can apply for rebates now for up to 25 new electric school buses. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Jan. 31, and awards are expected to be announced in February.
- Specialty Crop Block Grant: On behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Ag Marketing Services, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is accepting research, marketing, training and education proposals designed to enhance the competitiveness of the state’s specialty crops. Proposals must be submitted in the MiAgGrants System by 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 8.
- Agriculture and Rural Businesses Energy Incentive Grant: EGLE has made funding available to farmers and rural businesses to accelerate renewable energy adoption and increase energy efficiency. Applications close March 3.
- Small Manufacturers Retooling Grant: EGLE has funding available to small manufacturers to implement process energy efficiency measures. Applications close March 3.
- Pollution Prevention (P2) and Sustainability Assessment Implementation Grant: EGLE had funding available to small businesses for implementing energy efficiency upgrade recommendations following an environmental assessment. Applications close Mar. 3.
- Community Energy Management Grant: EGLE has made funding available to local governments, tribal governments, and other public-service entities for energy-related projects. Applications close Mar. 30.
- Small Business Worker Protections Grant: Michigan small businesses with 250 employees or less can apply for a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) matching grant up to $5,000 to make improvements to their workplace health and safety. The grant period began Oct. 1 and will continue until grant funding is expended.
- Federal Energy Grants: For more energy-related federal grants for local and tribal governments, visit EGLE’s Federal Funding Technical Assistance Webpage, part of the Catalyst Communities Initiative. The Michigan Infrastructure Office also has a Technical Assistance Center for communities to get one-on-one assistance and directly contract with consultants for grant writing, administration, and other services.
Apply for State Boards and Commissions
As you may know, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer makes appointments to nearly 250 statewide boards and commissions. These appointments are opportunities for Michiganders to engage with their state government on the issues they care about and represent their expertise and communities at the state level.
Vacancies can be viewed online. Each board listed includes the number of total members, number of vacant seats and specifications for each vacancy. If you match the descriptions and are interested in applying, please go to Michigan.gov/appointments.
E-News Archives, Publications and Recognitions
My e-news archive is available on my website here.
State publications on various topics are also available here. Physical copies of any of these publications can also be mailed to you by emailing my office with your request!
Do you know someone in the district who is retiring and would like a legislative tribute to celebrate their years of service? Has a local team or group reached a milestone that they would like to be acknowledged with an official certificate for each member? Our office can provide legislative tributes, letters and certificates on a wide range of recognitions for constituents and local small businesses. If you would like to request any of these materials for yourself or others, please fill out this form or email my office at BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov. Please provide as much information as possible on the requested recognition, and we will work with you to arrange delivery or presentation of the recognition!