Gov. Whitmer, Republican lawmakers play a game of ‘would you rather’ with tax proposals

“Income tax cut or a $500 check”
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:08 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Would you rather have an income tax cut or a $500 check? That’s the debate between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican lawmakers in the state legislature.

“As families are hurting, we want to give them relief right now,” Whitmer said Thursday. “The best, quickest way to do that is through a tax rebate.”

Background: Gov. Whitmer proposes ‘MI Tax Rebate Right Now,’ returning $500 to working families

Whitmer sent a letter to legislative leaders on May 19, 2022 asking them to pass a $500 tax rebate to help working families struggling to deal with inflation. Republican lawmakers said they’re all for tax relief -- but they want more than just a check.

“It’s helpful to only one class of people,” said Rep. Sarah Lightner (R) of Jackson County. “With everybody paying more, everybody needs to feel the effects of tax relief.”

Michigan’s Republican lawmakers are working on their own $2.5B plan to lower the state income tax rate, create a new child tax credit, reduce the tax on retirement income and expand the earned income tax credit.

“I think we need to be smart about the tax plan and I think we can be,” Lightner said. “And I think everybody can feel the effects of it and get money back in their pockets and keep more of their own money.”

Whitmer previously vetoed a similar proposal claiming the state wouldn’t be able to afford it once money from the American Rescue Plan -- provided by the federal government -- runs out. Whitmer said she’d rather use that one-time money to give working families some immediate help.

“We have seen an incredible opportunity with our resources because of good management. We’ve got stored resources to work with but they’re one time in nature and that’s why,” said Whitmer.

Some Republicans lawmakers said they would back the $500 rebates if the governor goes along with their long-term tax cuts.

Michigan’s Senate and House of Representatives passed the $2.5B Republican tax-cut plan Thursday.

The size of the state’s surplus will be discussed Friday -- it is expected to be almost $3 billion for 2022 and between $1-2 billion for 2023.

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