LANSING, Mich., March 23, 2023 — State Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids) introduced legislation today, coined “Amplify MI Voice,” to decrease reliance on large donors to fund political campaigns and incentivize smaller donations.
House Bill 4334 would give single filers an opportunity to claim a $250 income tax credit and joint filers a $500 income tax credit for political donations made to a candidate committee for state or local office, or state ballot question committee, per year. The tax credit would not be applicable to donations to political action committees, party committees or state caucus committees, thus incentivizing direct giving to candidates and ballot proposals.
“Amplify MI Voice will drown out big money in politics, putting more power in the hands of everyday residents,” Skaggs said. “Wealthy donors and special interests who are able to give large sums of money to candidates have had undue influence in our political system for too long.”
Trends in campaign finance show that candidates continue to receive significantly large shares of their total fundraising dollars raised from political action committees and large donors. One way to reverse this trend is through the use of incentives such as low-dollar donation tax credits. These tax credit programs exist in other states, including Montana, Minnesota, Ohio, Arkansas and Oregon.
“This bill would help increase participation in the political process by incentivizing lower- and middle-income individuals to have a greater role in the political process,” Skaggs continued. “Michiganders increasingly believe the way campaigns are funded disproportionately favors the rich and powerful. They feel big money has too much influence over policy — leaving individual voters feeling disconnected from their elected officials and candidates. I look forward to continuing to work on this bill as it moves through the legislative process.”