Wednesday, November 21, 2012

After Cutting Tax Credit For Children, Michigan Republicans Consider One For Fetuses

State legislators in Michigan held a hearing on Tuesday to consider House Bills 5684 and 5685, which would allow taxpayers to receive tax relief for unborn fetuses past 12 weeks’ gestation. The proposed legislation is an odd push for Michigan Republicans, partly because Progress Michigan notes the state slashed tax credits for children last year — meaning that although parents living in Michigan do not qualify for additional tax breaks to offset the cost of caring for their own children, they could soon be able to claim a tax credit for an unborn fetus.

Progress Michigan’s executive director points out that the proposed legislation is a dangerous step toward endowing fetuses with the same rights as human beings while disregarding the real economic needs of Michigan’s children, 341,000 of whom currently live in high-poverty areas:

“It’s clear Lansing Republicans have the wrong priorities by wasting time on these extreme bills,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “This is really a backdoor way of passing extreme personhood legislation, which has been rejected by voters in states across the country. Even worse, this would create a special new tax credit for unborn fetuses, after Lansing Republicans eliminated the tax credit for living, breathing children last year. It’s time for our elected leaders to get their priorities straight and start working together to create good jobs and improve education.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures believes this type of legislation could represent the first of its kind, although they acknowledged that the issue of states providing tax credits for fetuses has not been widely studied.

The nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency has estimated that allowing Michigan residents to claim a tax credit for unborn fetuses would cost the state between $5 million and $10 million annually in lost tax revenue.

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