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Whitmer vetoes GOP tax cut plan (again) but urges negotiations (again)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
(Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)

LANSING — Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday vetoed another major tax cut bill from the Republican-led Legislature, but again urged lawmakers to work with her and negotiate a relief package she could sign.

The latest GOP plan, which proposed slashing taxes by up to $2.7 billion a year, would have cut the personal income tax rate, expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, created a $500 child tax credit and expanded exemptions for seniors and disabled military veterans.

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But the election-year legislation, which sped through the House and Senate in a single day, ended up violating the Michigan Constitution because the final version does not reflect the bill’s original purpose of extending a tax filing deadline, Whitmer wrote in a veto letter.

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“The constitutional defects of this hurried process are both glaring and obvious,” she told lawmakers. “The bill was passed in open disregard of the constitutional rules that are meant to protect Michiganders’ rights to evaluate proposed laws and make their voices heard.”

Whitmer vetoed similar tax cuts in March, and Republicans anticipated she would do so again because they sent her the bill without negotiation. Still, the governor’s decision is a slap in the face of Michiganders feeling the effect of inflation and high gas prices, the GOP said Friday.

Whitmer is “out-of-touch” and “doesn’t care for Michiganders,” Michigan Republican Party spokesperson Gustavo Portela said in a statement. “Her party's policies have been slashing through family budgets left and right.”

In her veto letter, Whitmer reiterated that she wants to negotiate a tax relief plan with the Legislature, which has not happened despite a nearly $9 billion state surplus and months of posturing on both sides of the political aisle.

Whitmer has proposed sending Michigan families a one-time $500 rebate check, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and exempting more retirement income from taxation. She previously vetoed a six-month fuel tax suspension but says she’d consider a shorter “pause.”

"I look forward to meeting with you in the coming days to discuss next steps on a comprehensive approach to support Michigan’s working families," the governor told lawmakers Friday.

“With billions in additional revenue and a growing economy, we have a historic opportunity to negotiate a balanced, bipartisan budget that offers real inflation relief right now."

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