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$180 checks part of governor's targeted tax relief plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaking to the Michigan Legislature inside the capitol building.
Whitmer Administration
Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivers her fifth State of the State address on January 25, 2023.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration is proposing $180 checks to everyone who files a Michigan income tax return, as part of state Democrats' plan to help taxpayers deal with the rising cost of living. The state has a surplus and the plan they outlined Friday is expected to include targeted tax rollbacks and rebate checks for residents.

“We want to be able to focus on tax relief that will cover all of Michigan residents,” said House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit). “That’s our focus and that’s where we want to get to.”

Whitmer said she also wants to reduce the income tax people on pensions have to pay. And she wants to fully restore the state Earned Income Tax Credit to help lower-income families. The credit was rolled back by Republicans in 2011 to help pay for reducing businesses taxes.

“It eviscerated the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Whitmer said. “People work full time but can’t make enough to get ahead. I’m trying to un-do the harm that was done 12 years ago, so that’s job one.”

Whitmer says she thinks many Republicans will find things to like in this tax package.

“I anticipate and look forward to bipartisan support because this is one of those opportunities that I think everyone in the Legislature is going to want to be part of,” said Whitmer.

Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Porter Township) said it appears some GOP ideas are incorporated into the plan.

“Senate Republicans are cautiously optimistic that Governor Whitmer may finally be heeding our call for immediate inflation relief for Michiganders,” he said. “But when it comes to lower taxes, her actions have too frequently failed to match her words. Michiganders have too often played Charlie Brown to the governor’s Lucy as she yanks away her promises of tax relief at the last second.”

The package could start moving through the Legislature as soon as this week.

This story has been updated to include information released Monday morning.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.