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Time grows short for the state legislature to expand the earned income tax credit

The dome of the Capitol glows in bright natural light, against a deep blue sky with bare trees on the grounds
Carlos Osorio/AP
The state capitol building in Lansing.

Expanding the credit is widely popular in concept but a deal to extend more help to the working poor has long been an elusive goal.

(MPRN) A year-end push is underway to expand Michigan’s tax credit for low-income families before this legislative session wraps up.

Chances are dwindling to bring the state credit to 30 % of the federal tax break for working poor families during the session that will probably wrap up in the next couple of weeks.

“I highly doubt it,” said Republican state Senator Wayne Schmidt, who sponsored a bill to expand the credit to allow thousands of low-income working people to keep more of their paychecks.

“I would like it. There’s always Christmas miracles,” he said. “So, hey, I’m up for it. If somebody, if there’s a deal that can be struck, I’ll be the first one to say, yes, let’s do that and move it forward.”

Kent County Treasurer Peter MacGregor is a former Republican legislator. He said the issue always gets bogged down by political concerns.

“Before the election, the Republicans didn’t want to give the governor the win,” he said. “Now it’s after the elections and the Democrats want to wait ‘til 2023 so they can get the win. But they’re all being selfish because if they wait ‘til 2023, these working families are going to wait another year and a half before they can get this money.”

That’s because the ability to claim the tax credit would be pushed into the new tax year. MacGregor said now is the time because the state budget is flush with revenue.

“Right now, you know, I think the Legislature’s tripping over the money they have available,” he said.