UPDATE: GOP says state can ‘do better’ than Whitmer’s proposed $500 tax rebates for ‘working families’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).(WLUC/State of Michigan)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 10:16 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a plan Thursday to give $500 rebates to Michigan’s working families, which state Republicans call “not nearly good enough”.

Whitmer made the proposal in a letter to legislative leaders. The letter, which offered no details on exactly who would qualify for the rebate, comes after the news that Michigan is expected to have additional revenue heading into Fiscal Year 2023. Whitmer calls it her “MI Tax Rebate Right Now” proposal. The Democrat is up for re-election in November.

Whitmer’s spokesperson says the specifics of eligibility will be negotiated with the Republican-led Legislature.

“In the spirit of continued bipartisan collaboration with the legislature, we are eager to sit down with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to negotiate details for the plan that everyone can agree on,” said Bobby Leddy in an email to TV6 & FOX UP. “But one thing must be certain: we believe it should deliver immediate relief to families who have worked their tail off, paid their dues, and could use a little extra help right now.”

The letter was sent to Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich.

“From Macomb to Marquette, Michiganders are facing rising prices on food, gas, and other everyday expenses,” wrote Whitmer. “While the causes are varied, from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia to ongoing supply chain challenges caused by the pandemic, the pain being felt by people is tangible. Today, I am proposing MI Tax Rebate Right Now, a plan to send a $500 tax rebate to Michigan’s working families right away. Let’s take advantage of our additional revenue to put money in people’s pockets and deliver real relief right now… Michiganders are counting on us to work together to provide real relief right now, so they can pay the bills and put food on the table. Let’s draw on the grit and determination our working families show every day and let’s get it done.”

The full letter can be found here.

Michigan tax revenues keep shattering projections, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Fiscal agencies project 2021-22 revenues in school and general funds are $2.7B-$2.8B higher than estimated months ago. Revenues for 2022-23 revenues are $1B-$2.1B higher than the January forecast.

Earlier this spring, Republicans proposed $500 credits for each child in a family in a $2.5B tax cut bill that would have also made a permanent cut to the state income tax and expanded deduction eligibility for seniors. The governor vetoed that bill.

House Speaker Jason Wentworth’s spokesperson says Whitmer’s proposal is not nearly good enough for families struggling to buy groceries or gas with rising inflation.

“With billions of dollars in surplus revenue, state government can do better than this. Republicans are going to make working families a priority and deliver real savings,” said Gideon D’Assandro in an email to TV6 & FOX UP.

The House was set to vote again Thursday on another plan for a $2.5B tax cut.

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