State Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township) speaks on the retirement tax rollback on Jan. 9, 2024 at AARP Michigan State Office.
LANSING, Mich., Feb. 7, 2024 — For the first time in 40 years, Democrats gained control of the legislature and the governor’s office last year. With majority, they led a remarkably productive year, passing and signing into law a historic number of bills. A significant number of those laws go into effect on Feb. 13. In order to celebrate with and inform Michiganders, Dems are rolling out the Countdown to a Better Michigan project — each day leading up to Feb. 13, House Dems will share about a different set of legislation soon becoming law. Included are laws to lower costs and put money back into people’s pockets. Dems know Michiganders can use the relief, which is why they have made lowering costs and economic development a central priority.
Michigan has over 2 million people aged 60 or older, making up about a quarter of the state’s population. For far too long, Michigan retirees have shouldered the burden of a tax that placed an unfair strain on their fixed incomes. With the repeal of this tax, Michigan is now on the path to becoming a more age-friendly state by lowering costs for retirees.
“By repealing the retirement tax, we’re repealing the stress and concerns felt by retirees in Michigan who are struggling — and instead, we’re helping them enjoy their golden years with the security and peace of mind they earned. These tax cuts are expected to provide $1 billion in tax relief for retirees, which will save half a million seniors an average of $1,000 each year,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township), chair of Appropriations.
Another people-driven policy passed into law was an expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit, also known as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC supports low-income workers with children by either increasing their state tax refunds or allowing individuals to have less funds withheld from their paychecks each week. The EITC expansion is expected to provide current beneficiaries with an average additional $550 per year. This will bring 22,000 households out of poverty.
“A top priority of mine is supporting hard-working Michiganders and ensuring they have the tools to make ends meet. That’s why I sponsored the bill that got the working families tax credit expansion moving. Raising the credit from 6% to 30% of the federal EITC helps our local economies and our people,” said state Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights). “For example, in my district alone, working families will see a boost of about $729 in income and it will put $4.6 million back into our local economy. Our families deserve us to have their backs, and we’ve done that here.”
Because of Democratic-led legislation, all public school children can get free breakfasts and lunches. Regardless of income, no Michigan kid will go hungry. It is estimated that this program will save families $850 annually per child. On top of that, House Democrats allocated more than $250 million to expand free pre-K for up to 5,600 kids, saving families $10,000 a year and putting kids on the path to a brighter future.
“Kids need food in their bellies and a high-quality education,” said state Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint). “Over the past year, we passed free meals for public school kids and made it a lot easier for parents to sign their kids up for Great Start (pre-K). We’re going to keep up this momentum and make Michigan the best place for parents to raise a child.”
“Now that the rollback of the retirement tax is underway, half a million Michigan households will be able to put their hard-earned money back in their pockets. That’s an average of $1,000 a year they can use for expenses like groceries, bills, a well-deserved vacation or however they want to use it,” said Paula D. Cunningham, state Director, AARP.
Michigan Dems are hard at work to lower costs for working families. As we move into 2024, House Dems will continue to do the same. For more information on all of the bills that come into effect on Feb. 13, please go to housedems.com/countdown.