Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 S. Capitol Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

Lansing Update: Massive Tax Cut for Working Poor Passes Legislature!

In this update:

Legislature OKs Tax Relief for Working Poor After MCC, Grassroots Catholic Advocacy

A massive tax cut aimed at helping lower-income Michigan families was approved this week by both the state House and Senate in overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) has been championing a substantial increase to the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for roughly two years and the effort is now closer to becoming a reality.

This week, the state Senate approved Senate Bill 3 by a bipartisan vote of 27-11, and the House approved House Bill 4002 by a bipartisan vote of 100-8. Both bills would increase the state EITC to 30 percent of the federal credit from the current 6 percent.

In practical numbers, that means a family of four with $37,500 of earned income could claim $999 in a tax refund under the expanded EITC, up from a refund of $200 at the current rate. And between the federal and state EITC, the more than 750,000 eligible Michigan families on average could see as much as $3,000 returned to their pockets at tax time.

MCC Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson testified in favor of Senate Bill 3 before the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee.

MCC Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson testified in favor of Senate Bill 3 before the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee.

Not only that, both the House and Senate bills would make the expanded EITC effective immediately and applicable to the 2022 tax year, meaning eligible families could apply for the expanded credit this tax season and get the increased benefit this spring, provided one of the bills is signed into law by the Governor.

In a statement released Thursday evening following House action on the EITC bill, MCC Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson said: “For this increased tax credit to pass the House 100-8 is a powerful statement that both the executive and legislative branches have placed an emphasis at the outset of this new session on bringing economic relief to low-income workers.” The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights).

The MCC statement also commended the leadership of the sponsor of the Senate EITC bill, Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City). Earlier this week, Hickson testified in support of Sen. McDonald Rivet’s bill during a Senate Housing and Human Services Committee hearing on the EITC.

MCC Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson testified in favor of Senate Bill 3 before the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee.

MCC Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson testified in favor of Senate Bill 3 before the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee.

“Today we have a unique moment to help many people,” Hickson said in his committee testimony. “The EITC is a powerful anti-poverty tool, rewarding and supporting the dignity of work. We can give a hand up to those families who are working and struggling to provide by expanding it.”

Either the House or the Senate bill would next need to clear the opposite chamber to head to the Governor’s desk. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has repeatedly stated her support for expanding the EITC, including in her State of the State address this week.

“Since the early 2000s MCC has led the efforts for both the creation and protection of the EITC,” said Paul Long, president and CEO of MCC in a statement issued after the Governor’s speech this week that had urged support for the EITC. “We are excited to be working with lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle to increase this incentive to work and help those who are making strides to free themselves and their children from poverty.”

In addition to MCC testimony and statements in support of the EITC this week, more than 500 messages were sent directly to state lawmakers from members of the Catholic Advocacy Network who responded to MCC’s action alert to urge lawmakers to support the policy. Thank you to every person who took the time to send a message to lawmakers to make your voice heard and contribute to advocating for this policy that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Michigan families in need.

MCC advocated for the creation of the state EITC in 2006 and vigorously worked to defend it from total elimination during budget cuts in 2011, although it was reduced from 20 percent of the federal credit to 6 percent at that time.

In recent years, with the state enjoying a substantial budget surplus, MCC joined ranks with more than 230 advocacy groups across the state to encourage lawmakers to boost the state credit to 30 percent, which would take Michigan from one of the lowest state EITCs in the country to among the highest.

MCC enthusiastically supports the EITC because it helps the working poor and promotes the dignity of work. People can only claim it if they are working. The credit allows people to keep more of their earned income via a tax credit, which is often used to pay for necessities such as groceries, utility bills, and auto or appliance repairs.

It’s also designed to phase out as people earn more money to serve as a temporary hand-up and does not drive people into dependency, making it a proven policy to fight poverty.

MCC Joins in Support of Gun Safety Measures Following Governor’s Speech

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest State of the State address was delivered this Wednesday, and included a call to enact gun safety legislation that is supported by MCC.

“Common sense gun control policies that include locking away a firearm to protect children or other vulnerable persons from harm or even death are necessary in Michigan,” said Paul Long, MCC President and CEO. “Too often we see on television or read online about children or other young adults who too easily accessed a gun that, in the end, regrettably took the life of another. The unnecessary killing of innocent persons by way of irresponsible gun ownership or ease-of-access must come to an end.”

MCC has previously offered support for safe storage gun laws, which would require gun owners to lock their guns away from their children at home or face the prospect of punishment if a child is caught brandishing the weapon in a public place, or if the child causes harm to others with a gun that was left unlocked.

MCC is a supporter of policies to reduce violence of any kind as part of the effort to uphold and promote the dignity of human life, which includes advocating for measures to address the prevalence of gun violence in our country.

Capitol Rally Held to Promote School Choice in Michigan

This past week marked National School Choice Week, which was recognized in Michigan with a school choice rally at the Capitol, an event that MCC co-sponsored.

MCC advocates for promoting school choice because of the Catholic principle that holds that parents are the first and primary educators of their children.

From that, MCC believes quality education choices of all kinds should be promoted and supported by the state, including nonpublic and Catholic education.

Taking part in the rally was St. Gerard School in Lansing, pictured above, which featured students Grace Wonch and Hazel Wasilevich and teacher Angela Reed demonstrating 3D printing.

MCC Previews Legislative Priorities, Urges Catholics to Become Advocates

MCC’s expectations and priorities for the new legislative session were featured in an article in Detroit Catholic this week.

The article noted that MCC works with members of both parties to advance the common good, and that regardless of which party is in the majority, MCC’s guiding advocacy principles remain the same, particularly the foundational principle of upholding and promoting the dignity of all human life.

Detroit Catholic wrote that MCC’s consistent priorities include protecting and upholding life, advocating for the needs of the poor, defending religious liberty, promoting quality education choices among all schools, caring for creation, and preserving natural resources.

“All these principles relate back to the dignity of human life, both in ensuring the right to live, but also to provide a dignified life by making sure basic human necessities are available to all, particularly to the vulnerable and the poor,” said David Maluchnik, MCC vice president for communications, in the article.

MCC also provided some examples of policies the organization has previously supported that may see action this legislative session, while also outlining policies that should rise above the fray of partisan politics in the closely-divided Legislature, such as preserving and protecting human life and the right to religious liberty.

MCC will issue its comprehensive legislative priority list and agenda, known as the Blueprint for the Common Good, in a few weeks, which will be available for free to all Catholics both in print and online.

The article also promoted the Catholic Advocacy Network, which many people reading this may have already joined. But if you have friends and family who are Catholic and don’t know about the Catholic Advocacy Network, this would be the time to tell them by sending them a link to the Detroit Catholic article as well as this link to sign up to join the email list for the Network.

Memorial March for the Unborn to Take Place at State Capitol Tomorrow

Protect Life Michigan — one of MCC’s allies in the fight against Proposal 3 last fall — is hosting a Memorial March at the state Capitol tomorrow — Saturday, Jan. 28 — from 1 to 2 p.m. to continue witnessing to the pro-life movement in the face of the passage of Proposal 3.

Besides marching in memory of the lives of children lost to abortion, Protect Life Michigan said the event is aimed at providing hope for the future of Michigan and how to move forward together in the face of the great injustice that is the state constitutional amendment that provides a right to abortion.

More details about the event and registration can be found at Protect Life Michigan’s website.

If you haven't done so already, please join the Catholic Advocacy Network to receive regular public policy updates—including Lansing Update—via email. For other news and information, follow MCC on Twitter, like MCC on Facebook, or visit MCC’s webpage.

Michigan Catholic Conference
(800) 395-5565
(517) 372-3940
510 South Capitol Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
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