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Whitmer vetoes bill to reduce income tax rate

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Courtesy
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Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Friday that was sent to her by the GOP-controlled Legislature to reduce the state’s income tax rate. She said the bill was fiscally irresponsible compared to other options to help families deal with fuel costs and rampant inflation.

The veto was no surprise since Whitmer rejected a similar bill earlier this year. Whitmer has supported a sales tax holiday or a one-time tax rebate. She says that won’t bust future budgets once the current surplus disappears.

In her veto letter, Whitmer also took issue with the process used by Republican leaders to fast-track the bill to her desk:

“The constitutional defects of this hurried process are both glaring and obvious. 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 before those laws are adopted.”

Whitmer said the bill was amended to the point that it’s a “broad change” from its original purpose to extend a tax filing deadline. She said that’s violates the Michigan Constitution and also a key reason for vetoing the bill.

But Whitmer has also opposed efforts that would permanently tamp down revenue that supports state services.

Republicans responded to the veto by saying Whitmer’s ignoring families struggling with the rising cost of living.

“This isn’t over,” said Representative Matt Hall, who chairs the House Tax Policy Committee.

“We keep trying to provide relief from record inflation and high prices at the pump, but the governor keeps turning it down and denying the people we represent the help they need. We actually took her suggestions from her previous veto and included things she said she wanted in this plan, but apparently it wasn’t enough to change her mind and convince her that Michigan families shouldn’t keep falling further and further behind with each monthly bill.”

In her veto letter, Whitmer invited legislative leaders to meet in the next few days to discuss ways to offer financial relief to taxpayers.

“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. 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.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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