Lansing Update: Challenge Filed Against Abortion Proposal

In this update:

Challenge to Abortion Proposal Questions Typos, Errors in Amendment Text

A challenge to the proposed abortion ballot proposal has been filed with the state arguing the constitutional amendment should be rejected due to numerous errors in the language itself.

Attorneys representing Citizens to Support MI Women & Children are urging the Board of State Canvassers to keep the proposed abortion amendment off the ballot because the language to be placed in the constitution contains numerous run-on words due to a lack of spaces between the words.

The proposal would allow abortion all throughout pregnancy, remove parental consent for minors seeking abortions, permit non-physicians to perform abortions, and more.

“The text of the amendment is filled with run-on words that are incomprehensible, making an already confusing amendment impossible to understand,” said Christen Pollo, spokesperson for Citizens Supporting MI Women & Children, in a press release this week announcing the challenge. “Amending the constitution is serious business, and these people didn’t take it seriously enough even to proofread their own language.”

According to the official challenge filed by the attorneys, there are a total of 60 errors in the proposal text due to a lack of spacing between the words, creating a “hodgepodge of nonsensical gibberish.” Examples cited include “DECISIONSABOUTALLMATTERSRELATINGTOPREGNANCY” and “OFTHEFETUS’SSUSTAINEDSURVIVALOUTSIDETHE.”

The press release noted the language with the spacing issue would become a permanent part of the state constitution, with Pollo adding that “there is no legal or constitutional process for changing the text of the amendment at this late stage.”

The challenge was filed with the Board of State Canvassers. The board is not expected to decide on the abortion amendment and the challenge until its meeting on Aug. 31.

Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is a co-chair of Citizens Supporting MI Women & Children, which is working to keep the abortion amendment off the ballot this November.

Meanwhile, an Oakland County judge today issued a preliminary injunction against the state’s abortion ban, preventing enforcement of the law that protects women and unborn children from abortion. The injunction is slated to run until at least after the November election. A request to the Michigan Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the law remains pending.

Leaders of MCC, Small Business Group Urge Lawmakers to Boost EITC

Lawmakers should expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) using the state’s historic budget surplus to help low-income working families and help employers fill jobs, according to a joint op-ed penned by the leaders of MCC and the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM).

MCC CEO Paul Long teamed up with Brian Calley, former lieutenant governor and now president and CEO of the SBAM, to lend their names to the op-ed touting the benefits of expanding the EITC. The piece ran in the Detroit Free Press earlier this week. The text of the column is below:

EITC expansion encourages work and boosts Michigan’s economy

By Brian Calley and Paul Long

Michigan faces unprecedented economic conditions. As we continue to recover from the pandemic and deal with increasing inflation and high gas prices, we are also faced with a shortage of workers that creates great uncertainty for employers across the state.

Both of our organizations understand the importance of work. The dignity that comes from earning an income to provide for your family is powerful. That’s why we are both advocates for public policy that rewards and encourages people to have a job.

One policy that encourages work that has brought us both together—and members of both political parties, as well as more than 90 public policy, religious, and business organizations—is expanding Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a refundable tax credit that is designed to help lower-income taxpayers and working families who make less than $57,000 a year. The credit gradually phases in with lower incomes and phases out as incomes rise. The EITC incentivizes work, as the tax credit can only be claimed if the recipient has earned an income.

The federal EITC began in 1975 when Michigan’s own President Gerald R. Ford worked across the aisle to establish the tax credit. Nearly every president since, from both parties, has expanded the EITC. In 2006, a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers came together to enact our own EITC to provide a match of the federal EITC.

Currently, Michigan is faced with a historic budget surplus. And as economic uncertainty grows for Michigan’s working families, expanding our EITC would help solve several problems facing all Michigan taxpayers and businesses.

The EITC encourages work by providing a tax credit for hard-working Michigan families and results in money being spent locally, as families use the tax credit for necessities, like auto-repairs, food, childcare, and school supplies. Estimates show that by expanding Michigan’s EITC to 30 percent, a single parent household with two children would see their tax credit grow from $355 to $1776 and would boost local Michigan businesses by more than $440 million annually.

Surveys show that two-thirds of families live paycheck to paycheck. In 2019, nearly 730,000 Michigan households, including more than four-in-ten Michigan children, benefited from the EITC. Data shows that EITC recipients only claim the credit for one to two years, as the EITC helps lift them out of poverty.

Employers and small businesses benefit from this incentive to work too. At a time when hotels, restaurants, and employers of all sizes are having trouble finding enough employees, rewarding work will help increase Michigan’s labor force. Expanding the EITC provides a growth opportunity for small businesses and boosts local economies.

As Michigan’s leaders determine what to do with the historic budget surplus, we encourage them to expand Michigan’s EITC. The benefits are clear for working families and Michigan’s businesses. We have an opportunity to deal with the worker shortage and help those who need it most deal with the ever-rising costs of daily life. We encourage Michigan’s leaders to seize the opportunity before them to help boost our economy and help lift thousands of hard working families out of poverty by expanding Michigan’s EITC.