Engaging with…The Earned Income Tax Credit

By Brad O’Neil

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is something you’ve probably been hearing about for years. It was drastically cut when Governor Snyder took office in 2011, was due to be partially restored as part of the failed Proposal 1 package, and is now in danger of being eliminated altogether under the guise of raising money for roads. But what is it? And why is this specific tax credit fomenting such controversy?

The EITC is a tax credit that was established with the purpose of helping low-income workers keep more of what they earn. This enables them to continue to afford basic necessities and deal with unexpected expenses during hard times. Simply put, it has been a lifeline for thousands of Michigan families struggling to get by.

Eliminating this credit would be extremely detrimental to the more than 7,000 working families that depend on it to stay above the poverty line and would do almost nothing to help our roads.

But don’t waste all of your outrage because the same legislators who have cut and now propose to eliminate the EITC are also the ones who gave corporations a $1.7 billion tax break. If that seems unfair, it’s because it is.

It demonstrates a very skewed set of priorities and a twisted view of economics when the best policy solutions elected officials can come up with is to hand out massive tax giveaways for big business while raising taxes on Michigan’s poorest families.

Low-income Michiganders have already endured enough under our corporate-centered tax structure and policies. Eliminating the EITC would be one more slap in the face to those hurting the most. It’s not the place to go looking for money to repair the roads our legislators have so long ignored.