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Gov. Whitmer vetoes Republicans' $2.5B tax cut legislation

Gov. Whitmer said the legislation would strip funding for basic government services.
Credit: AP
FILE - Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces the first round of Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grants on Sept. 15, 2021, at the GM Mobility Research Center at Kettering University in Flint, Mich. The plot to kidnap Whitmer represents a growing anger in U.S. politics, and violence – both physical and non-physical – that is disproportionately aimed at women elected officials and candidates, and particularly women of color. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday vetoed Republicans' proposal to permanently cut the state income tax, make more seniors eligible for deductions and restore a child tax credit, saying it would strip funding for basic government services.

The veto, which was expected, may prompt negotiations between GOP legislative leaders and the Democratic governor, who has called for more targeted tax breaks for retirees and lower-wage workers.

The legislation "would strip away funding from kids, police, and communities, and according to nonpartisan analysis, blow a recurring, multi-billion-dollar hole in basic government functions from public safety to potholes," she wrote to lawmakers.

While Michigan has a $7 billion budget surplus, her administration says it is largely one-time revenue that cannot be counted on in future years.

The bill would have cut the personal income tax to 3.9% from 4.25%, lowered the age for filers to exempt up to $20,000 individually or $40,000 jointly to 62 from 67, allowed an additional exemption for retirement income not covered by the standard senior deduction and created a $500 per-child tax credit. It would have saved taxpayers $2.5 billion annually.

Republicans accused Whitmer, who is up for reelection, of missing an opportunity to help residents grappling with high inflation.

"This plan would have cut taxes for every single taxpayer in the state and provided bonus help to seniors and families with children. It did everything the governor promised she would do," House Speaker Jason Wentworth said. "But at the end of the day, she just couldn't get herself to give that money back to the taxpayers who deserve it."

Whitmer has proposed restoring Michigan's earned income tax credit to 20% of the federal credit, up from 6%, and gradually repealing a 2011 change that reduced an exemption for retirement income for people born after 1945.

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