News Release: Catholic Conference Strongly Urges House Republicans to Reconsider Eliminating EITC

January 14, 2011

(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul A. Long made the following comments today in response to a proposal from House Republicans to eliminate the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit:

“While it is clear that forthcoming legislative efforts will focus primarily on reining in state spending, the Conference is strongly urging members of the Legislature to consider the impact eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit will have on the working poor of this state.

“The Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit was enacted in 2006 with near unanimous support. This tax policy has long been hailed by many, including President Ronald Reagan, as one of the strongest measures that lifts working families and children out of poverty. When the EITC was enacted some 650,000 working individuals became eligible for the credit; in 2011 that number has swollen to over 780,000, according to the Department of Treasury. As the House majority also plans to pursue welfare reform, it seems misguided to pursue a policy (eliminating EITC) that will likely increase the number of those seeking assistance.

“An elimination of the EITC would also represent a tax increase on the working poor, which is ironic, considering it has been widely reported that the Legislature will not seek to raise taxes in order to balance the budget deficit. This is not only ironic, but irresponsible. Michigan’s low-income workers should not bear the burden of setting straight the state’s fiscal house.

“Michigan Catholic Conference is urging House leadership and all members of the Legislature to consider the consequences of eliminating EITC. A policy proposal that discourages work and sinks poor families and children deeper into poverty is significantly flawed and demands reconsideration. Despite different approaches to this issue, Michigan Catholic Conference looks forward to working with members to advance legislation that promotes the common good in this state.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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