Proposal calls for inmates to pay state sales tax

May 26, 2011

A Michigan lawmaker is proposing the state’s prisoners pay sales tax on items they buy from the prison commissary.

State Rep. Anthony Forlini, a R-Harrison Township, says inmates should not be exempt from the six-percent tax.

Forlini  laughs at the suggestion that it would be unfair to tax inmates because they’re not allowed to vote.

"To say that the regular public pays a sales tax and the inmates do not pay a tax is what's really unfair," Forlini says. "The fairness issue is treating us all alike."

Forlini says a tax on inmates’ purchases could raise up to $1 million annually for the state.

The proposal would tax things like toiletries bought at the prison commissary.