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News & Press: Legislation/Policy

​Doubling EITC in Michigan

Tuesday, June 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brent Parzuchowski
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NASW has been a champion of economic justice and equity since its inception. The social work profession was founded on the notion that those living in poverty are often marginalized and in need of advocates to help mitigate their plight. NASW believes that we can achieve economic justice and end economic disparities. One sound solution to ending economic disparities is doubling Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in Michigan, which has been proven to be one of the most important income safety net programs. That is why we are working with our coalition partners such as Michigan League for Public Policy to ensure that Gov. Whitmer sticks to her commitment of doubling the state EITC to 12% in her 2020 budget proposal.


Michigan’s EITC is available to any state taxpayers who file for the federal EITC, and the credits serve the same purpose. And while they generally share the same bipartisan support, our state EITC hasn’t enjoyed the same steady, upward trajectory as its federal counterpart.  In fact, in 2011 it was almost eliminated entirely under Gov. Rick Snyder’s massive tax shift, which asked residents to pay more so businesses could pay less—a shift our workers are still feeling the pain of today.

Keeping it alive in our laws was huge, but Michigan’s EITC still took a massive hit. The credit was cut from 20% of the federal credit to just 6% of the federal credit. Since 2011, Michigan’s EITC and the working families who rely on it have been quietly surviving and waiting for a better political climate to come. 

That’s why Gov. Whitmer’s proposal to bump it back up is so significant. And a majority of Michigan residents see that as clearly as she does, with 67% of Michiganders favoring a state EITC increase, according to an EPIC-MRA poll conducted in March. Boosting the credit is a good step in undoing the damage of the 2011 cut and restoring the state EITC’s impact on Michigan workers, businesses and economy.

The credit has a significant impact on the households that receive it. It promotes work and is the best remedy for poverty in our toolbox. The EITC not only improves economic security, but other outcomes, as well. Among kids in families that receive the EITC, there are improvements in nutrition and educational and economic attainment, and a decreased incidence of low birthweight. A recent study by the University of California even found that increasing the EITC could help reduce suicide and drug and alcohol deaths in people who are financially struggling.

In tax year 2017, more than 748,500 families statewide received an average credit of $150, putting $112 million back into the local economy. But it should do more; if the state EITC were doubled to 12% of the federal credit as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed, these same families would have received an average credit of $300. And fully restoring Michigan’s EITC to 20% of the federal credit—its 2011 level—would mean an average credit of $500 for these families.

A recent study by Michigan State University found that Gov. Whitmer’s proposed increase of the Michigan EITC would result in $95.2 million in added economic activity for an estimated 335,000 rural residents, with the largest economic impact taking place in northern counties of the Lower Peninsula.The Michigan EITC’s benefits touch every corner of our state. But it can and should be doing so much more.


As the state budget process now shifts into its post-Mackinac gear, it’s incumbent on lawmakers to work with the governor to restore our state EITC, better support Michigan’s struggling families, and unleash more of the credit’s purchasing power in communities around the state.

Take a look at Michigan League for Public Policy’s latest geographic fact sheets to learn more about what the EITC does (and what it could be doing) in your county.


If you have any suggestions on other ways we can better our services or communications with you, please reach out to us at 517-487-1548 at any time.


Algeria Wilson, MSW

Director of Public Policy. NASW-Michigan


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