- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A variety of groups spoke out Tuesday against a bill that would eliminate a tax credit for low-income, working families as part of a plan from Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter to provide more money for repairing Michigan’s roads.

Republican Rep. Jeff Farrington is the bill sponsor, and he told the House Roads and Economic Development committee that eliminating the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit would allow that money to be reprioritized.

The state currently refunds taxpayers up to 6 percent of the amount they claimed under the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which allows workers to claim up to $6,143 if they have three or more children. The federal credit would remain intact for Michigan taxpayers, but Farrington’s bill would eliminate the state credit, which he said averages around $143 per year for those claiming it.

Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, said eliminating the state credit would make it harder for low-income, working families to make ends meet and eventually achieve financial independence.

“It will increase poverty for thousands of Michiganders, which is a legacy no one should aspire to,” she told the committee.

She added that generating $117 million by eliminating the credit is “like trying to fill the Grand Canyon with a bucket of sand” when it comes to boosting a more than $3 billion annual transportation budget.

The House Roads and Economic Development Committee also heard testimony Tuesday on two bills that would make changes to distribution of Michigan’s general fund by pushing more money toward roads. Some of the earmarked money would bypass a formula that would typically distribute 10 percent to a fund supporting public transportation.

That bypass was criticized by groups ranging from those advocating for people with disabilities to the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Counties and Michigan Environmental Council.

Robin Bennett spoke in opposition to the change on behalf of the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council, a group appointed by the governor and representing people with various disabilities. She said access to public transportation is vital to people being able to integrate into their communities, reach jobs and receive the services they need.

The road-funding package will likely be approved Wednesday by the Republican-majority committee. The full House could vote on the package as early as next week. House Republican leaders have said they want to vote on the bills before the end of June, when they are scheduled for a summer in-district work period.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide