LANSING, Mich. — Today Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D–East Lansing) introduced his first bills of the new legislative session. Senate Bills 59 and 60 would provide a tax credit for families and incentivize our young people to stay here in Michigan after they graduate from college.

“Education — from high-quality, early child care through higher education — is the fundamental foundation for success, but skyrocketing child care costs and student loan debt are hindering Michiganders from attaining the American dream,” Sen. Hertel said. “When you compare the median income, with the average amount of student loan debt and add the cost of child care, it’s no surprise that this generation of young people is the slowest to buy a car, buy a house, or start a family. It’s time to begin alleviating these costs and investing in our young professionals.”

Senate Bill 59 would encourage graduates to live and work in the state post-graduation by offering income tax credits for a portion of their student debt. The student tax credit would be equal to 50 percent of the amount paid on a qualified student loan during the tax year, and would be capped at 20 percent of the average yearly tuition for Michigan’s public universities — or roughly $2,300.

“Our college graduates are one of the state’s most valuable resources, and we should be doing what we can to keep them here and help them succeed,” Sen. Hertel said. “They should be able to focus on building a career and a life right here in Michigan without being overwhelmed by debt.”

Senate Bill 60 would allow families who receive the federal child and dependent care credit to claim a state income tax credit equal to the amount of their federal credit. The proposed child care tax credit would be tiered based on family incomes as follows:

—  Less than $25,000 can claim 110 percent.

—  Between $25,000 – $40,000 can claim 100 percent.

—  Between $40,000 – $65,000 can claim 80 percent.

—  Between $65,000 – $100,000 can claim 20 percent.

“Quality child care is critical for the development of young children,” Sen. Hertel said. “It’s past time for us to make it a little easier to raise a family in Michigan.”

A father of four children himself, the senator has firsthand experience about how hard it is — and the volume of resources it takes — to raise a family.

“While these bills won’t solve every problem, it is my hope that they make life a little easier — to raise a family, send a kid to college and keep our young people here in Michigan,” Sen. Hertel said. “We simply can’t move Michigan forward if we leave this generation behind.”

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