Feb 1, 2024 - Politics

Detroiters could see greatest benefit from Whitmer's caregiver tax credit

Whitmer smiles near cameras in the capitol building

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enters the Michigan House of Representatives last week before her sixth State of the State address. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Michigan's largest city didn't take up as much of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State address as it did last year, but advocates tell Axios her plan to provide relief to family caregivers could benefit Detroit families the most.

Driving the news: Whitmer unveiled the Caring for MI Family Tax Credit, a plan to offer a $5,000 tax credit to caregivers that could be used for expenses like nursing or respite care, transportation and even temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities.

Why it matters: Saving up to $5,000 off their taxes would be a major help to Michiganders struggling to afford their own lives while spending thousands on out-of-pocket caregiving expenses.

  • The economic burden of caregiving mostly falls on women and falls even harder on Black and brown people, Danielle Atkinson, founding director of Mothering Justice and member of the Wayne State Board of Governors, tells Axios.

By the numbers: The number of people in Michigan taking care of a loved one is on the rise since the pandemic.

  • Approximately 1.7 million people provide care to a loved one, according to an AARP Michigan estimate.
  • Nationally, AARP reports Americans spend more than $7,000 a year on caregiving expenses.

What they're saying: "It does not go all the way, there is more that caregivers need, like paid family medical leave, but this is a great start," Atkinson tells Axios.

  • "Tons of people who aren't necessarily poor do struggle when it comes to the added burden of caregiving adults."

Context: A survey of 1,000 caregivers sponsored by the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative found that more than half of all people at every income level in Metro Detroit reported having out-of-pocket expenses for caregiving, the Detroit News reports.

  • That includes both 56% of people with a household income of more than $100,000 a year and 60% of those making less than $20,000 annually.

What we're watching: The details of who's eligible for the tax credit are yet to be released, but the governor is expected to say more about the proposal during her Feb. 7 budget presentation to the Legislature.

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