JIM CREES: Fetuses as tax dependents! Really?

Before you start sharpening your pencils and licking those stamps, let me announce slowly and clearly - This is not a column about abortion.

Again, I repeat - This ..IS ...NOT ...a ...column ...on ...abortion.

It is a column discussing common sense in Lansing, or the serious lack thereof.

Down in Lansing, the boys in the House of Representatives are considering two bills that would allow fetuses to be counted as tax dependents.

Yes. Fetuses would be considered tax dependents.

House Bills 5684 and 5685 have been placed before the Tax Policy committee and, truth be known, already removed from the discussion docket. Things apparently got too sticky too fast, and this is, after all, a lame duck session.

Nevertheless...there you have it. Michigan legislators are more than willing, (probably next session around), to discuss whether fetuses qualify as tax dependents. The topic will come up for discussion again next year.

GOP sponsors of the bill say it has nothing to do with the right-to-life, or right-to-choose debate. Passing the bill would simply recognize the fact that “ ... people have additional expenses, another person to take care of. Money saved there could be contributed to doctor’s bills and all kinds of things,” noted Rep. Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac), a sponsor of HB 5685.

This is what we pay legislators to discuss and debate. Bills that would allow fetuses at least 12 weeks in gestation by the end of any given tax year to be named as a dependent when parents-to-be file their state income tax.

The Republican sponsors say this is all about helping parents-to-be and young families with expenses. It has nothing to do with the abortion thing - although in a backhanded manner the bills would create legal standing for fetuses - personhood, if you will.

They just want to help young families and parents with the burden taxes.

Interesting enough, Rep. Gilbert and other bill sponsors have in the past voted to cut tax deductions for families. In effect, the bill tossed out by Gilbert for consideration would create a tax deduction for unborn fetuses, while at the same time he and they voted to wipe out tax deductions for living children.

Last year, Michigan’s child tax deduction was eliminated. This funding provided assistance for well over 2.3 million children throughout the state.

And don’t forget, back in 2011 there were cuts to the Earned Income Credit which, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy, resulted in over 9,000 children sinking into deeper poverty than they were at the start of the year. (The EITC was cut from 20 percent to six percent.)

But, the good representatives are only thinking of the economic betterment of families and young parents.

Shineola.

Plain ol’ lies.

And again, I feel compelled to note at this point to note that that what bothers me is the lack of common sense. I am not addressing the abortion issue in any way, shape, or form.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, if Rep. Gilbert and his friends are able to pass a bill saying that a fetus can be a tax deduction on a state income tax filing, then why shouldn’t we take this to the most logical end.

For example, why shouldn’t school districts be allowed to claim fetuses as students. Pregnant women in any given school district could register their unborn child before Count Day and that fetus could be officially enrolled in the district as a Future Student needing just as much care and attention as living students do - maybe even more so.

Each fetus could then bring in over $7,000 to the school district coffers.

That could all add up. Such a legal consideration could be a boon to predominantly rural school districts.

Why not???

If a fetus is a tax dependent, why should the same fetus not enjoy a new status in the school district - or from any other tax funded entity for that matter.

You might ask, “Why should the state basically pay speculative funding to a school district based on a count of fetuses?”

Well, by that same token, why should the state offer tax deductions to young families based on the existence of a fetus?

It is categorically the same thing.

One lacks common sense just as does the other.

But the fact is, ladies and gents, this has nothing to do with tax deductions.

It has to do with pseudo-ideology - a falsified concern for life as defined by a very narrow “base.”

It is pandering, not governance.

But whether you consider this important legislation, or a horrifying waste of time.

One thing is for sure - it lacks any semblance of common sense.

Still, I’ve given up on hoping for common sense out of the boys in Lansing.