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Whitmer: Don’t expect a tax cut in 2024

Governor speaks on behalf of lawmakers, despite 54-54 tie in the House

It took all of two weeks into 2024 for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reject the idea of an income tax cut in Michigan.

Speaking Monday after MLK Day festivities in downtown Lansing, Whitmer warned Republican lawmakers that no proposals to cut taxes are likely to advance in the Legislature.

The state House starts 2024 with a 54-54 tie between Democrats and Republicans. Last year, two House Democrats won mayoral elections and resigned their posts. That cost the House Democrats their 56-54 advantage, but it didn’t matter. The Legislature quickly adjourned for the year.

The year begins with 108 House members, meaning 55 votes are needed to pass any bill. Meaning that at least one Republican or one Democrat would need to cross over for any bill to pass. Everything done in the first months will be bipartisan, by definition.

House Republican Leader Matt Hall, R-Richland Township, has spoken publicly in favor of a power-sharing arrangement with the House Democrats. But House Speaker Joe Tate, D-Detroit, has not given any indication he’s willing to share power, and House rules keep the gavel in his hands in the event of a tie that’s not 55-55.

As The Detroit News’ Craig Mauger reported:

Asked if she had any appetite for additional tax relief this year, Whitmer replied on Monday, "I don't think you’re going to see any proposals on that front.”

Whitmer spoke indirectly of the Mackinac Center’s lawsuit, which argues that Michigan’s income tax rate should be 4.05% permanently.

Mauger wrote:

There’s an ongoing legal battle over the interpretation of a policy that tied the rate to revenues, but the rate is currently expected to increase back to 4.25% for 2024, as Whitmer herself acknowledged Monday. The anticipated increase would occur amid frustration among voters over the economy and the prices of consumer goods.

Whitmer last year fought to avoid lowering the tax rate from 4.25%. When that failed, her treasurer sought an attorney general’s opinion on whether the tax cut was permanent or event-driven. Attorney General Dana Nessel said it was event-driven, and the tax rate would return to 4.25% in 2024.

The Mackinac Center sued, along with two lawmakers, and the case is ongoing.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.