by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a GOP bill that aimed to provide $2.5 billion in tax breaks by dropping the personal income tax rate from 4.25% to 3.9%, saying it would blow a “hole” in her $74 billion budget.
“It would force tax hikes on families or deep and painful cuts to services, hurt our children’s ability to catch up in school, force layoffs of cops and firefighters, and kneecap our ability to keep fixing crumbling roads,” Whitmer wrote in her veto letter.
Senate Bill 768 aimed to create a $500 tax credit for each child under age 19 and boost seniors’ tax deductions up to $40,000 for individuals and $80,000 for couples, and lower the age of eligibility from 67 to 62.
Meanwhile, Republicans say they could backfill lost revenue to provide relief now from record gas prices. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said the people of Michigan deserve better.
“No Michigander is immune from record-high gas prices and inflation, and no Michigander should be excluded from tax relief,” Shirkey said in a statement. “Our bipartisan bill would have lowered taxes for every resident, from families with young children to seniors on fixed incomes and everyone in between.”
Two weeks ago, Whitmer and five other Democratic governors asked Congress to provide relief from record gas prices. After, the Michigan GOP offered a plan to cut the state’s 27-cent per gallon gas tax that she rejected. Whitmer has verbally supported suspending the state’s 6% sales tax on gas.
“The governor isn’t just a day late and a dollar short on this issue, she’s weeks late and millions of dollars short,” Shirkey said. “Other than writing a letter to Nancy Pelosi, she’s been absent as Michiganders are struggling with record-high gas prices. Now she’s proposing a half-measure that won’t save drivers as much as the bill we’ve already passed.”
Instead, Whitmer’s $74 billion proposed budget aims to provide targeted relief to certain Michiganders, including low-income families, seniors, large companies looking to build, and subsidize those who want electric vehicles.
The conservative Michigan Freedom Fund’s Tori Sachs called for tax relief for all Michiganders from the highest inflation experienced in the nation over the past 40 years.
“Prices are skyrocketing in the Biden-Whitmer economy, and that means we’re not only paying more for gas and groceries – we’re also paying more taxes to the government because of those higher prices. There was a bipartisan income tax cut on her desk, but Whitmer vetoed it, denying relief to Michigan families and seniors devastated by her lockdowns and mandates,” Sachs said in a statement. “The state has billions of dollars in surplus and the Whitmer admin has wasted billions more on fraud, hush money and handouts, but Whitmer chose a political veto over putting money back in taxpayers pockets.”
House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, said Whitmer only supports tax cuts when speaking to the public.
“But behind the scenes she’s doing everything she can to keep money out of the pockets of Michigan families and kill any chance they have of seeing relief,” Wentworth said in a statement. “People are struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills. We need real leaders who say what they mean and do what they say, not politicians who wait for 5pm on a Friday to quietly go back on their campaign promises.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Julia Pickett. CC BY-SA 4.0. Background Photo “Michigan State Capitol” by Subterranean. CC BY-SA 3.0.