Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 9, 2020 


VP Pence backs Trump on getting kids back to school as U.S. coronavirus top 3 million: state lawmakers call for a "just" economic recovery.

2020Talks - July 9, 2020 


The Green Party nominating convention begins today. The Supreme Court is making its final rulings this week; today, they rule on whether Trump's tax returns will be released.

Will Plan to Fix Damaged Roads Damage Michigan's Working Families?

PHOTO: As part of a plan to fund road repairs in Michigan, state lawmakers are considering eliminating the state's Earned Income Tax Credit. Opponents argue the estimated savings from the elimination of the tax are too small to merit serious consideration. Photo credit: Nirbhao/Flickr.
PHOTO: As part of a plan to fund road repairs in Michigan, state lawmakers are considering eliminating the state's Earned Income Tax Credit. Opponents argue the estimated savings from the elimination of the tax are too small to merit serious consideration. Photo credit: Nirbhao/Flickr.
June 8, 2015

LANSING, Mich. - A lifeline for some low-income families could be cut, as House lawmakers consider eliminating Michigan's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

A vote could come soon on House Bill 4609, which would eliminate the tax credit as part of a road-funding plan.

Supporters of the bill claim the EITC does little to help the working poor, but Allan Wachendorfer, director of public policy with the National Association of Social Workers in Michigan, says the estimated savings from the proposal is small compared with the significant amount of money the EITC saves Michigan families.

"A lot of legislators don't seem to think $100 or $200 is very much money, but a couple hundred dollars really does make a huge difference to a lot of people," says Wachendorfer. "We end up paying more in the long run when people fall deeper into poverty and end up requiring more help later."

It's estimated that elimination of the credit would generate more than $115 million a year to fund road repairs. The measure passed a House committee last week.

An estimated 820,000 families benefit from the state EITC. According to Wachendorfer, the credit helps eliminate difficult choices such as keeping the lights on or putting food on the table.

"Both social workers and their clients are impacted by the elimination of the Earned income Tax Credit," he says. "I've actually heard some social workers say their clients were able to continue coming to therapy because they were able to repair their car."

As the Legislature searches for ways to fund road repairs, Wachendorfer says plans that hurt the most vulnerable should be taken off the table.

"I have a hard time imagining the governor would want to see something like this included in road funding," he says. "He talks a lot about the 'river of opportunity,' but cutting programs like this 'dam up' that river of opportunity."

Four years ago, lawmakers reduced the Earned Income Tax Credit from 20 percent to six percent, while at the same time giving businesses a $1.65 billion tax break. Wachendorfer says leaders need to consider options that increase revenue – and are the least regressive possible.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI