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Whitmer proposes sales tax holiday on school supplies

Aaron Burden

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proposed a sales tax holiday on school supply items to help bring down costs for parents and teachers.

The idea of suspending sales taxes on school supplies isn’t an original one. A number of other states already do it.

According to Whitmer, Michigan should join them. She said the state needs to build on the momentum of the record education budget she just signed, and provide relief to families and teachers hurt by inflation.

“As families gear up for the school year, they should be able to get what they need without spending too much money out of pocket,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That’s why I’m putting forward the MI Back to School Plan, which includes a proposal to temporarily suspend the sales tax on school supplies. Getting this done would lower costs for parents, teachers, and students right now, and ensure that they have the resources to succeed. I will work with anyone to lower costs, cut taxes, and help our kids thrive.”

But details, such as the length of the tax holiday, are still unclear. And Whitmer would need help from the Republican-led state legislature to implement the policy—help that, for now, does not appear to be forthcoming.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey called Whitmer’s proposal “shameless pandering,” saying she’s vetoed GOP plans that offer tax breaks. “The people of our state need real, permanent tax relief,” Shirkey said. “Their governor isn’t just a day late and a dollar short, she’s months late and billions of dollars short.”

In a release, the Michigan Retailers Association said it supports Whitmer’s idea, “but recognize it’s too late into the shopping season to make an impact, even if the law could be changed in time.” The Association said launching the tax holiday next year would be a good idea.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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