I grew up in Michigan, a state known for its beautiful lakes and beaches, its tart cherries, and for giving birth to the auto industry. Among Michiganders, the state is also known, a little less fondly, for its enormous potholes. Our potholes are so infamous, in fact, that in past years local breweries have crafted and sold beer, like the Pothole Stout, to raise funds for fixing the roads.
You might expect a local business to use its talents to help fill a pothole, but you would never expect someone to fill a pothole with food from a family’s table. But that’s essentially what the Michigan House of Representatives voted to do this week, approving a bill that would eliminate the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in a misguided attempt to find funds to repair Michigan’s roads.
The EITC allows low-wage workers to keep more of what they earn each year. It is a proven anti-poverty measure that incentivizes people to work and provides a critical safety net for working families struggling to make ends meet. It’s bad enough that a few years ago Michigan slashed its EITC from 20 percent to 6 percent of the federal credit in order to give businesses a tax cut. Eliminating the credit entirely will raise taxes on more than 800,000 Michigan families who can least afford it, making it harder for them to pay the bills and put food on the table.
Michigan’s roads are in need of a fix, but it should not come at the expense and well-being of the working poor. Eliminating Michigan’s EITC is a short-sighted move that makes low-wage workers nothing more than collateral damage. Let’s hope that Michigan’s Senate has more sense than its House and rejects this outrageous measure.