Less than a year after eliminating a state tax credit for parents with children, Michigan Republicans decided that some children are in fact worthy of a special new tax break -- as long as they are unborn.
The Michigan legislature this week held a hearing to consider legislation that would grant a tax credit to parents for any fetus proven to be at least 12 weeks along by Dec. 31. While the bill’s Republican supporters claim it is designed to provide financial help to families facing expenses associated with pregnancy, Democrats can’t help but point out those same Republicans gutted the state's Earned Income Tax Relief Credit and childcare subsidy.
“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 [Michigan] Republicans eliminated the tax credit for living, breathing children last year,” Zack Pohl, the executive director of Progress Michigan, said in a statement.
Michigan is ranked 44th worst in the U.S. for the percentage of children living in poverty, the Michigan League For Public Policy reported. About 341,000 children in the state live in high poverty areas.
The eliminated credit provided a $600 exemption for children under 18. In comparison, Michigan’s nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency reported the proposed tax credit for fetuses would provide about $160 per family and would cost the state between $5 million to $10 million per year.
Pohl said the downsized relief offered by the proposed tax credit is a clear indication is about reproductive rights, not supporting families. Mary Pollock of the National Organization of Women’s Michigan chapter told MLive the measure is an “attempt to give some legal recognition to the unborn in tax law, which would then be used as a reason to give legal recognition to the unborn in other contexts such as in criminal law or in health law.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures said this week it is unaware of any state that allows fetuses to be claimed as dependents for income tax purposes, MLive reports.