by Bruce Walker
All Michigan taxpayers will get inflation relief checks and retirees will average four-figure savings in a plan Michigan’s top Democrats say answers the call for helping families.
The size of those relief checks wasn’t announced.
In addition, the Lowering MI Costs Plan will put an “average of $3,150 back into the pockets of 700,000 Michiganders,” a joint release from top Democratic leaders said Friday. Repealing the retirement tax is expected save 500,000 households an average of $1,000.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Speaker of the State House Joe Tate, and State Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks proudly made the announcement, with Whitmer doing so at an event in Detroit. Critics from the conservative group Michigan Rising Action and the conservative-leaning Mackinac Center spoke against the plan in conversations with The Center Square.
Democrats said this is “the largest tax cut in decades” for Michigan. It has to pass both chambers of the Legislature, where Democrats have majority, before Whitmer and lawmakers could implement. She is to present her budget on Wednesday.
“Right now, inflation has driven the cost up on everyday goods, which is squeezing household budgets and forcing families to forego necessities,” a statement from House Democrats said. “That’s why they sent us to Lansing to lower costs and put more money back into people’s pockets.
“We heard Michiganders loud and clear.”
James Holman, director of Fiscal Policy at Mackinac, said the plan doesn’t actually lower costs. He said writing checks to households is not lowering their taxes.
“If the governor was serious about cutting taxes, she wouldn’t have vetoed last year’s tax cuts, including ones that included tax preferences for seniors and low-income households,” he said.
The announcement doesn’t reveal whether the planned tax rebates would circumvent the two-tenths of a percentage point reduction in the state’s 4.25% individual income tax that would otherwise be triggered by a law adopted by the Legislature in 2015.
“A one-time rebate to block permanent tax relief is a sham,” Michigan Rising Action Executive Director Eric Ventimiglia told The Center Square.
Also left unanswered is whether Whitmer would dodge the tax decrease by diverting $800 million of state revenues to Michigan’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve fund.
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by City of Detroit. Background Photo “Michigan Capitol” by natashawest_.