A tax cut for lower income working families, in the form of an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is included in a proposed tax cut plan backed by Republican leadership in the state House and Senate.
"While encouraging the human dignity that comes with work, the EITC is a pro-family, pro-children policy that provides a level of stability and assistance to help less affluent families get by and cover necessary expenses and emergencies," said Tom Hickson, MCC's vice president for public policy and advocacy in a statement issued by the Michigan EITC Coalition. "We're encouraged by the action the legislature took this week and look forward to seeing EITC expansion in the final budget agreement."
On Thursday, the House and Senate passed House Bill 4568, which would increase the state EITC along with a host of other tax relief proposals expected to total more than $2.6 billion. The plan, as it stands now, would also cut the state income tax rate from 4.25% to 4% and would include a larger child tax credit, among other tax relief provisions.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has previously backed an expanded EITC, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also proposed expanding the EITC.
MCC and the Michigan EITC coalition support Senate Bill 417, which would increase the credit to 30%. The tax cut proposal approved by the House and Senate would increase the EITC to 20%, up from the current 6%.
The legislative tax cut proposal comes as state officials today predicted that state revenues will be higher both this year and next year than previously anticipated.
It's estimated there will be more $3 billion more in state revenues to spend this year, as well as more than $2 billion more for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury. The state Legislature is currently working on the budget plan for next fiscal year.
Parishes and schools still circulating the Let MI Kids Learn scholarship petitions are being asked to return those to the campaign no later than this upcoming Monday, May 23.
Send petitions by priority mail no later than Monday, May 23, addressed to:
Let MI Kids Learn
C/O National Petition Management
24293 Telegraph Rd
Southfield, MI 48033
Remember to have the forms properly signed by the circulator, and to return the forms intact - do not separate the signatures page from the rest of the petition pages.
June 1 is the deadline to submit enough signatures for proposed legislation to expand education opportunities for low-income students across the state, and the campaign needs all petition forms back to process and submit them to the state before then.
Catholic parishes and schools across the state have been encouraged by MCC and Michigan's Catholic bishops to have their members sign the petitions and collect signatures to create a scholarship program to give low-income families money toward out-of-pocket education expenses. For more information, visit the campaign website.
A judge earlier this week put a temporary hold on enforcing Michigan's law prohibiting abortion, a move criticized by the attorney representing MCC in the matter.
John Bursch, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) representing MCC and Right to Life of Michigan, said state Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher "was demonstrably wrong in her legal conclusions," according to a report from Detroit Catholic.
The judge granted Planned Parenthood's request to block enforcement of the law, which prohibits abortion except in cases to save the mother's life. The law is currently not in effect due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade allowing for nationwide abortion access.
Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is the defendant in the case, has said she will not appeal. Gleicher, who is a contributor to and has previously represented Planned Parenthood, declined to recuse herself after ADF and others called for her to do so.
"It's a rogue decision for someone who is ethically conflicted in hearing the case and lacks jurisdiction to decide the case to nonetheless go ahead and issue an injunction against the attorney general of the state, based on arguments that no one has argued before her in briefing or in oral argument," Bursch said, according to Detroit Catholic.
Bursch is assessing the next legal steps to take on behalf of MCC and Right to Life.
Catholic and other nonpublic schools will be included in receiving state-provided packets about dual enrollment and other postgraduation opportunities for students under a bill approved by the Legislature and headed to the Governor.
House Bill 4953 requires the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to provide the annual informational packet to schools.
Nonpublic schools were not originally included, but at MCC's request, they were added to the bill, which has now cleared both legislative chambers and is on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's desk for consideration.
In addition to dual enrollment opportunities, the MDE packets also include information like early/middle college programs, testing centers that administer advanced placement or college-level tests, and other information pertaining to postgraduation opportunities.
Senate Bills 993, 994, and 995 set up a special fund for the state to receive $800 million out of the $26 billion total settlement reached with opioid distributors and an opioid manufacturer. The legislation sets up an Opioid Advisory Commission to recommend to the Legislature how best to use the funds.