FARMINGTON HILLS - State Representatives Vicki Barnett (Farmington Hills), Jim Townsend (Royal Oak), Rudy Hobbs (Southfield) and Tim Greimel (Auburn Hills) today at a press conference in Farmington Hills called on Republicans to repeal their new taxes on retirees and to restore tax credits to the middle class by supporting Democrat-sponsored bills that will relieve the burden on Michigan families when next year’s tax deadline rolls around.
“As middle class families in Michigan prepare to send in their tax returns, they need to know that a lot of the credits and deductions available to them this year are going away,” Barnett said. “That’s because Republicans in Lansing have decided to make working families, seniors and retirees foot the bill for tax breaks to major corporations. This is wrong, and we are going to do something about it.”
In the past year, the Republican-led Legislature has made many changes to the Michigan tax code that punish middle-class families, including the introduction of a tax on retirement income, a steep reduction in the homestead tax credit, a drastic cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit, the elimination of the child tax credit and tax credits for charitable donations. These changes were made to fund more than $1 billion in tax breaks for big corporations, effectively making Michigan’s poor and middle-class families pay for a hand-out to big businesses. The new taxes take effect this year, which means many taxpayers won’t feel them until it comes time to file tax returns next year. However, retirees have already seen their monthly checks take a hit as the state starts to collect withholdings on pensions and 401(k) disbursements.
“These changes clearly hurt our families,” Hobbs said. “Seniors who lived on fixed incomes are struggling to make ends meet. This time next year, families who relied on Homestead Tax Exemptions, Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Deductions will be taking a drastic hit.”
To right this wrong, the Democrats have introduced several measures to undo these harmful changes and make Michigan’s tax system fair to everyone. These measures include House Bill 4818 to eliminate the senior tax and House Bill 5407 which would restore the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit for working families to the level it was at before Republicans cut it by 70 percent. In addition, the House Democrats pledged to continue fighting against tax increases on the middle class and seniors every time a new, harmful tax is introduced to the Legislature.
“Getting rid of this new tax on seniors is one of my top priorities,” Townsend said. “I’ve heard from several retirees who are struggling under the weight of this new tax burden the Republicans placed on them. Restoring fairness to our tax code should be everyone’s goal in Lansing.”
The press conference follows months of town hall meetings held across the state to inform taxpayers of the changes. Greimel said he has spoken with hundreds of Michigan taxpayers who were either unaware of the tax changes, didn’t understand how they would be impacted or already hurting because of them.
“We owe it to the people of Michigan to restore fairness to our tax system,” Greimel said. “They’re looking to us to help them, and we’re not going to let them down.”