Michigan Legislature Completes Work on Budget Bills; new set of spending plans yet to come

The Michigan Legislature wrapped up its work on the budget bills in a session that lasted through Thursday night and early Friday morning.

Budget bills — totaling about $77 billion in spending — now await Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature and vetoes on the items, but the administration and lawmakers are looking ahead to figure out how to use the $7 billion. remaining dollars in the general fund and the academic aid fund. .

Republican Representative Thomas Albert chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

He said the state had enough to pay down debt, put money into savings and fund a tax cut. “I mean we have $7 billion left that is unspent, so I think there’s a lot of room for both a cushion and looking for tax relief.”

Albert said it was essential right now, as inflation was reducing household incomes.

He said the state will pay down $2.6 billion in debt, which will help prepare for the day when revenues stabilize. “You know, I think there’s a lot of room left to run. If you look, we still have $7 billion on the balance sheet, so tax relief is still on the table,” Albert said.

Rep. Joe Tate is the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. He says the remaining money could be used for many things.

Tate says he would like to consider an increase in the earned income tax credit for low-income workers.

“So I really see this as a real opportunity for us to do that and to do that on an ongoing basis, it’s not going to put us under fiscal stress going forward,” he said.

Raising the working income tax credit is an area of ​​bipartisan agreement that just never made it into a final budget deal, but there is still time and money to do it. . The tax credit will, however, compete with the Republican preference for a reduction in the state income tax rate, while Whitmer has called for a one-time tax refund.

Discussions on this matter will continue during the Legislative Assembly’s three-week summer recess.

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