Governor Whitmer Continues to Block Real Tax Relief for All Workers

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced with great fanfare that 700,000 Michigan households were getting a new tax break. It was good news because any reduction in taxes helps, especially as people continue to deal with rising costs. But what the governor failed to mention is that the other 3.2 million households in Michigan were unfortunately out of luck.

And so it goes with some politicians. They make grand public announcements that sound good, but oftentimes the truth is a bit murkier.

Governor Whitmer issued a news release to declare that some Michigan families would receive a tax break involving the Earned Income Tax Credit. The break will come in handy for a small percentage of Michigan’s population, but the large majority of taxpayers will actually see a tax increase in their 2024 returns.

And the sad reality is that the governor worked behind the scenes to ensure it.

First, a little background. In 2015, the Michigan Legislature and then-Governor Rick Snyder passed a law to create an automatic income tax rate rollback for all Michigan taxpayers if the state’s budget surplus surpassed a certain level, which happened last year. The law certainly made sense. If the state budget is flush with taxpayer dollars, then taxpayers deserve to see a reduction in their taxes.

The income tax rollback, as written, was meant to be permanent. Former Governor Snyder and legislative leaders at the time even put out a public statement saying the rollback was meant to be permanent. And the non-partisan Senate and House fiscal agencies both agreed.

But Governor Whitmer’s administration and other state Democrats attempted to undermine the law and argued the rollback was only temporary. A Democrat-appointed judge recently agreed with their assessment and ruled that the rollback wasn’t permanent.

Michigan taxpayers could lose billions and billions of dollars out of their own pockets over time due to the ruling, which was seen by many as a clear abuse of the 2015 law.

So instead of broad-based tax relief for all Michigan taxpayers and job providers, the state has implemented a selective tax cut that picks winners and losers. Tax relief should be similar to public policy involving economic development – meaning everyone should benefit – not just a special few.

When the Governor and Legislature make the next grandiose announcement, stop and ask yourself, is this reality, or is it rhetoric?

Governor Whitmer and the Democratic-controlled Legislature still have a chance to make things right. They should allow the permanent tax cut to continue unabated, as outlined by the 2015 state law. Please contact your state representatives and senators and tell them to roll back the tax rate for all Michigan workers!