Spotlight: Freshman Representative Votes NO; Against Tax Cuts, Jobs

MICHIGAN — Freshman state representative Neil Friske is earning a reputation as a legislator who votes no on almost every vote before him. Representative Neil Friske (R-107th District) was one of only eight representatives to vote against the Working Families Tax Credit that would give the average working family a $3,000 tax credit each filing year.

Friske began his first term in office by breaking tradition and voting against the nominee for Speaker of the House Joe Tate – despite the face that Tate’s nomination was seconded by Republican leader Matt Hall. Joe Tate is the first black Speaker of the House in Michigan history. Friske also voted against the rules of the House that usually passes without any controversy.

The Working Families Tax Credit was introduced in the House by Representative Nate Shannon (House Bill 4002) on the first day of session.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer expressed support for the Working Families Tax Credit at a press conference this month, “This is our opportunity to do right by the people of Michigan. This is an opportunity for us to show that the things we said we’re going to do here? We’re going to get them done,” she stated.

In addition to members of the legislature and Governor Whitmer, other organizations have come out in favor of the credit. Monique Stanton, the President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, wrote in an Op-Ed published by Michigan Advance, “when paired with the federal EITC, increasing the state EITC to 30% of the federal credit for Michigan’s working families would deliver an average combined tax refund of more than $3,200 to over 730,000 families.”

In addition to voting no on lower taxes, Friske also voted against a bill that would support jobs in the Upper Peninsula by investing nearly $1 billion in a paper mill near Escanaba. Friske represents the eastern Upper Peninsula which borders on the district where the paper mill is located. This vote would have possibly cost some of Mr. Friske’s constituents job opportunities had the majority Democrats not passed the bill without the support of Republicans.

Time will tell if Mr. Friske continues to vote no on everything or if he will be able to set his own personal politics aside and bring a constructive attitude to Lansing. Friske’s family is the family who runs a well-known apple orchard in northern Michigan. Progress Michigan, a progressive organization, has called on Mr. Friske to answer whether or not he attended and participated in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. As of press time, Mr. Friske has not confirmed or denied he is an insurrectionist.

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