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New child tax credit bills introduced in Michigan Legislature

Interior of the state Capitol's rotunda.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Bills introduced in the Michigan Legislature would offer many lower-income parents a tax break for every child under 4 years old.

The new $5,500 per-year credit would be available to parents who already qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. That’s on top of the expanded earned income credit for low-income families signed last year by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The package sponsored by Democrats also call for new financial incentives to draw more people into the childcare profession.

The estimated cost: about $1 billion.

“I challenge anybody in this body to go to a Michigan family and say, ‘Hey, you don’t deserve more money in your pocket,’” said Representative Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn), one of the bill sponsors. “I challenge them to do that.”

The proposal may be well-intentioned, but it would be a misdirection of government resources, said James Hohman, the director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center, a free market think tank.

“I think you should be skeptical because it’s not especially targeted at people who need help, and the kinds of help that supporters think they need are already covered by other programs,” he told Michigan Public Radio.

The next step is hearings on the legislation before House and Senate committees.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.