News Releases

Major flaws exposed in U.S. House Republicans’ healthcare plan

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2017

Contact:
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

League, federal analysis show that plan will eliminate health coverage for 24 million people, cut $880 billion from Medicaid and shift costs to state

LANSING—Congressional Republicans’ plans for Medicaid funding will hobble Michigan’s budget and jeopardize healthcare for at least 2.5 million state residents according to a new fact sheet, Medicaid block grants and per capita caps are bad for Michigan’s health, released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today. This analysis comes on the heels of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report this week that showed the House Republicans’ health plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will ultimately result in a drastic increase in the number of uninsured in the country and substantial cuts to federal Medicaid funding.

“The Affordable Care Act was a groundbreaking policy that significantly reduced the number of uninsured in Michigan and improved people’s health,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “On the other hand, the House Republicans’ alternative plan is an absolute disaster. It will result in 24 million people losing health insurance, cut $880 billion from Medicaid, and stifle state Medicaid funding through per capita caps. The only people who will benefit from it are wealthy individuals who will get tax breaks while our residents, our small business owners and our hospitals all suffer.”

The CBO estimates that the House Republican health plan would cause 24 million people nationwide to lose insurance coverage by 2026, including 14 million people next year. The plan will slash federal Medicaid spending by $880 billion and gives $600 billion in tax cuts primarily to the wealthiest Americans while raising premiums for millions of consumers. Additional analysis on the plan is available from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“The Affordable Care Act and the related Healthy Michigan Plan have been vital in reducing our state’s uninsured rate and have provided health coverage for millions of residents,” Jacobs said. “The governor supports the Healthy Michigan Plan and it was created with bipartisan support, but putting per capita caps on or block granting our state’s Medicaid funding will put this highly successful program at risk.”

The House Republicans’ current healthcare plan will put per capita caps on federal Medicaid funding for the states, giving Michigan and other states a fixed amount of money per Medicaid enrollee. Other Republican healthcare proposals have proposed distributing Medicaid funding through block grants where the federal government would send each state a specific amount of funding to support the entirety of the Medicaid program.

Using per capita caps or block grants to distribute federal Medicaid funding will limit the amount of federal funding that states receive, shifting costs and risk to states, hurting local economies, and putting quality coverage for seniors, people with disabilities and families with kids at risk. This shift could result in a significant financial strain on state budgets, forcing Michigan lawmakers to limit spending on Medicaid by reducing the number of people it covers or cutting other vital state programs including education, public safety or infrastructure.

The League has been a major supporter of the ACA since its inception, particularly the expansion of Medicaid through the Healthy Michigan Plan that currently insures 650,000 state residents with low incomes. The League put together a fact sheet on the ACA’s tangible benefits for Michigan residents, businesses, hospitals and our state economy.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Diverse testimony joins chorus of opposition to income tax cut

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

Groups warn against tax cut’s $680M budget hole in FY 2018, damage to economy, schools and local communities

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement today in opposition to House Bill 4001 that will eliminate the state income tax. The statement can be attributed to Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, who also testified against this bill in this morning’s House Tax Policy Committee.

“Lawmakers who are pushing this proposal are ignoring the real-time failures happening in other states that have cut their state income tax, and they are ignoring the will of the people. Polling data shows widespread opposition across party lines and in every corner of the state. There’s only one group of people who will significantly benefit from cutting the state income tax, and it’s the state’s wealthiest individuals. The people of Michigan who are working hard but still struggling will suffer from the continued degradation of state services, our infrastructure and our quality of life.

“You only have to look at the lineup of opposition to this bill to see the broad array of people who will be harmed by cutting the state income tax—including the very working people this is said to help. This proposal will not create jobs or stimulate our economy. Instead, it will create a $680 million budget hole in the first year, and cost the state up to $9 billion or even more when the income tax is fully eliminated. Michigan has already endured years of cuts to services people rely on every day and has seen the consequences in public crises in Flint and other communities. Cutting the income tax will exacerbate these problems and leave our state unable to invest in our schools, colleges and universities, air and water, communities, bridges and roads, healthcare and public safety—the things that actually fuel economic growth.”

The League has been a leading voice in speaking out against the real impact of this tax cut, and will continue to stand up for the people of Michigan and the value of government services. See the links below for additional information.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Michigan voters resoundingly reject income tax repeal plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman
517.487.5436
arossman@mlpp.org

Strong majority says quality services, not tax cuts, lead to more and better jobs

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan lawmakers advocating to repeal the state’s income tax without replacement will find little support from voters—and almost no support once voters are told of the impact of repeal, according to a statewide poll commissioned by the Michigan League for Public Policy from EPIC/MRA.

The telephone poll conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2 contacted 600 Michigan voters and has a margin of error of four points. The League asked questions to learn how voters feel about legislative discussions to eliminate the state’s income tax, which provides 40 percent of the state’s General Fund and School Aid Fund. Voters were also asked if they believe tax cuts or quality government services would best lead to more and better jobs. The results:

  • Voters oppose eliminating the state’s income tax over time without replacement by 74-16 percent, with 45 percent of voters “strongly opposed.”
  • When informed that the state income tax provides 40 percent of state revenue used for K-12, higher education and medical care for the poor, and that ending it means cutting those services, 87 percent oppose eliminating the income tax.
  • Asked whether quality services or more tax cuts would be most effective in creating more and better jobs, voters supported quality services by 67-30 percent.

“It’s time for lawmakers to stop advocating for tax cuts and instead turn their attention to funding what voters and economists say truly make a difference in lowering unemployment and increasing incomes—quality education, reliable infrastructure, clean air and water and other services residents and businesses depend on in our state,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“If lawmakers really want to help the people of Michigan, they should listen to what they want. Those saying tax cuts will improve our economy are ignoring reality—and their constituents,” Jacobs said, noting that the state’s tax burden now ranks 36th in the nation according to state officials. “We’ve tried tax cuts to boost our state’s economy and it hasn’t worked, and the people of Michigan clearly see that.”

“Due in part to continued tax cuts, Michigan has experienced more than a decade of disinvestment in our state services and our people,” said Jacobs. “Many working families have yet to feel any economic recovery. Meanwhile, our residents are saddled with roads and water systems that are not safe let alone adequate, a struggling education system and college tuition that is sky high due to state budget cuts.”

More details on the survey follow:


1. Bills introduced in the Michigan Legislature would eliminate the state’s income tax over time over several years, but without replacing the revenue that would be lost. Do you favor or oppose eliminating the state’s income tax without a replacement of lost revenue? [IF FAVOR/OPPOSE, ASK: “Would that be strongly or somewhat?”]

7% | Strongly favor
9% | Somewhat favor
16%  | TOTAL FAVOR
73% | TOTAL OPPOSE
28% | Somewhat oppose
45% | Strongly oppose
11% | Undecided/Refused

Opposition to an income tax elimination without replacement, even over time, was strong and across the board. Looking at party identification, 68 percent of Republicans opposed ending the income tax (37 percent strongly opposed), 79 percent of Independents said they were opposed (36 percent strongly opposed) and 78 percent of Democrats were opposed (57 percent strongly opposed).

In Macomb County, 66 percent of voters said they were opposed to this type of legislation; only 16 percent supported and 18 percent were undecided. In Northern Michigan, 69 percent of respondents opposed, 16 percent supported and 15 percent were undecided. In West Michigan, 78 percent opposed and only 9 percent favored eliminating the income tax.

The poll then informed voters about the cuts that would be required if the income tax were eliminated – and found opposition increased even more.

2. Today’s state income tax provides $4 of every $10 used for Michigan’s K-12 schools, higher education, medical care for poor children, the disabled and other state programs. That would mean cutting support for local schools, closing universities or requiring higher tuition, and cutting health care for poor children and the disabled. Knowing that, let me ask you again, do you favor or oppose eliminating the state’s income tax without replacing the lost revenue? [IF FAVOR/OPPOSE, ASK: “Would that be strongly or somewhat?” AND CODE BEST RESPONSE]

4% | Strongly favor
4% | Somewhat favor
8% | TOTAL FAVOR
87% | TOTAL OPPOSE
35% | Somewhat oppose
52% | Strongly oppose
5% | Undecided/Refused

Virtually every group expressed strong opposition to repealing the income tax after being informed about the cuts that would be required.

Looking at party identification, 81 percent of Republican voters opposed eliminating the income tax after being informed, with 42 percent strongly opposed, compared to 90 percent of Independent voters and 94 percent of Democrats.

Those surveyed were also asked about what they thought was the most important thing state government could do to create more and better jobs and improve our quality of life.

3. Which of the following two statements comes closer to your view? [ROTATE TWO PARAGRAPHS BELOW]

  1. The most important thing state government can do to provide more and better jobs and a higher quality of life for Michigan families is provide a quality education, good roads and transportation, quality public services like safety, water, fire protection, parks and libraries that create an environment in which people want to live, work and run a business.
  2. The most important thing state government can do to create more and better jobs and improve the quality of life in Michigan is to cut taxes for individuals and business. That’s what really creates more and better jobs and will make our state a better place to live and work.
67% | Statement 1 — provide a quality education, good roads & transportation, & quality public services
30% | Statement 2 — cut taxes for individuals and business
3% | Undecided/Refused

By more than two to one, respondents said that the best way to deliver more and better jobs is through providing quality public goods – not cutting taxes. Support for quality services was highest among Democrats (83 percent saying services and 14 percent supporting lower taxes), but even self-identified Republicans backed better services over tax cuts, 53-44 percent.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Many bright spots in governor’s budget, but cloud of tax cut still looms

For Immediate Release
February 8, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

Governor’s budget includes funding for many League priorities that support kids, workers and families

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Governor Rick Snyder’s 2018 budget presented this morning. This statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“The governor’s budget today is very positive and includes money for many of the programs and services that help struggling workers and families. The League has been a champion for leveraging federal funds to support important state services, and the budget includes $6.8 million to draw down the federal money needed to keep the Heat and Eat program going and $8.4 million in state funds for child care to secure much-needed federal funding. The budget upholds continued funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, which provides healthcare for more than 600,000 Michiganians with low incomes under the Affordable Care Act, and we appreciate Governor Snyder’s continued commitment to protecting that successful program in Michigan.

“We are pleased to see an increase in school funding for at-risk students to help address the extra support that students struggling with poverty and hunger and toxic stress need, and a $60-per-child increase in the state’s school clothing allowance that helps provide clothes for children living in families with low incomes. Today’s budget included funding for the Part-Time Independent Student Grant to help adult students pursue a college degree, something the League has been advocating for years. And we appreciate the governor’s continued call for investment in infrastructure and support for the people of Flint to help them recover and get clean water.

“But all of these encouraging investments could disappear tomorrow if the Legislature goes against the governor’s budget and cuts the state income tax, eroding $250 million to $9 billion from the state’s funds. Kansas and several other states have already made this mistake and suffered severe consequences, and now Republican legislators there are scrambling to undo the policy. If legislators really want to help the people of Michigan, especially those who are barely getting by, they should pass these positive investments, not something that will undermine them.”

The League’s support of the Heat and Eat program was even quoted in the governor’s executive budget (Page 46) released today. The League also continues to warn against the damage a cut to the state income tax could cause, and Kansas, one of the states that has passed a similar measure, is already looking to repeal it.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Phased-in income tax cut could jeopardize Michigan’s future, services residents and businesses depend on

For Immediate Release
February 6, 2017

Contact:
Karen Holcomb-Merrill
karenhm@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

National report shows negative impact of phased-in tax cuts in other states

LANSING—Two new national reports released today show that “triggered” and phased-in tax cuts over a number of years, like Michigan lawmakers passed as part of the roads plan and have recently proposed on the state income tax, are poor fiscal policy that could harm the state’s future ability to provide critical services for its residents, businesses and communities. Using a phase-in or revenue trigger to pass tax cuts at a time when they clearly aren’t affordable or palatable has already wreaked havoc in other states, according to research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Phasing in State Tax Cuts Doesn’t Make Them Fiscally Responsible concludes that this method of enacting tax cuts often leads to serious structural problems in state revenue systems, forcing harmful cuts in public services, increases in other taxes, or both. They also let state lawmakers avoid accountability, allowing them to avoid the public scrutiny that would accompany a public debate about the trade-offs and consequences of these proposals.

While the aforementioned report is a harbinger of Michigan’s future problems if a phased-in income tax cut is passed, the Center’s other report released today, Revenue “Triggers” for State Tax Cuts Provide Illusion of Fiscal Responsibility, specifically notes Michigan as a bad example at present. As part of the 2015 roads plan, Michigan already passed a different revenue-triggered tax cut that will not take effect until 2023. That’s two national reports on two bad tax policies, and the Michigan Legislature is pursuing them both.

“The ink is barely dry on the triggered income tax cut and now lawmakers want a phased-in cut as well. A 50-year fiscal threat is still a threat. Our schools, our roads, our police and fire services, our courts and our healthcare all depend on state revenues, and are all in danger with any cut to the state income tax,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Unaffordable tax cuts threaten our state’s future by eroding the foundations of thriving communities, and dragging them out over time just means chipping away at the budget with painful cuts year after year.”

Eleven states have enacted large, phased-in cuts in corporate or personal income taxes since 2011 that will cost a combined $8 billion a year once fully implemented. Kansas’ income tax cut and subsequent budget mess has been getting some attention in Michigan lately, and Arizona and North Carolina have had similar problems. These states have had to make drastic cuts to their budgets, including slashing public education funding, money for colleges and universities, and road funding. Mississippi just enacted a phased-in income tax cut in 2016 and Moody’s has already given the state a negative credit outlook. Michigan is now poised to make the same mistake, with two proposals to cut and repeal the Michigan income tax, including one that will happen over more than 50 years.

Phased-in tax cuts have caused serious financial problems in some states that have adopted them and will likely continue causing problems as they are phased in or adopted in additional states, because:

  • Policymakers usually do not have access to up-to-date, multi-year forecasts of how much states expect to spend in the year a phased-in tax cut is fully in effect or an estimate of total revenues available at that time. Such forecasts could be done in most cases, but they are almost never done.
  • By making income tax cuts easier to enact, phased-in cuts promote the shifting of tax responsibilities from wealthy residents to less-affluent ones. Income taxes require more of wealthier residents than families with middle to low incomes, while the opposite is true for the other major state taxes, such as sales and excise taxes. As a result, when states cut income taxes and increase other state taxes, they shift the cost of state services away from the rich and toward the middle class and struggling workers.
  • Delayed tax cuts offer no meaningful benefit over tax cuts that take effect immediately. There are no proven practical or economic benefits of phasing in tax cuts.
  • Delayed tax cuts are politically expedient because they enable policymakers to claim credit for cutting taxes while avoiding accountability for the consequences.
  • Delayed tax cuts are hard to reverse once enacted. While it would require only a simple majority of the Legislature to cut taxes and make corresponding deep cuts to colleges and other things paid for with state tax dollars, supporters of reversing these tax cuts in some states would have to persuade supermajorities to enact restorations. This makes it even more important that lawmakers and voters consider these proposals knowing all the facts and potential consequences.

Proposals to phase in deep tax cuts are often based on the incorrect claim that states can cut taxes significantly without undermining their ability to continue funding services as long as they cut taxes gradually over time. This claim ignores the fact that the cost of providing a given level of services rises over time due to inflation, population growth, and other factors. Phasing in tax cuts offers the appearance of prudence even when the tax cuts are fiscally irresponsible. States considering phased-in tax cuts should evaluate carefully the cost and consequences.

“Phasing in policy changes over time can be prudent in some cases, but phasing in deep tax cuts can create major structural problems in state revenue systems, weakening states’ ability to support a strong education system and other essential public services that provide a foundation for future prosperity,” said Eric Figueroa, senior policy analyst and lead author of the Phase-in report.

Phasing in State Tax Cuts Doesn’t Make Them Fiscally Responsible and Revenue “Triggers” for State Tax Cuts Provide Illusion of Fiscal Responsibility are available on the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website www.cbpp.org.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

League helps Michigan workers claim millions of dollars through available tax cedits

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

Annual resource guide outlines numerous federal and state tax credits available to working families

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy’s annual Money Back in Michigan report released today outlines seven different federal and state tax credits that offer thousands of dollars to Michigan taxpayers but are often overlooked. Many workers aren’t aware that they are eligible for these credits and don’t apply for them.

The information on each tax credit includes specific guidelines on how to determine if you are eligible and how to apply for the credit. In addition to reaching residents directly, Money Back in Michigan also includes sample articles for media outlets and organizational e-news and newsletters, fliers for posting in local businesses and community centers, and printable materials to be shared by partner groups, libraries and elected officials.

“Too many Michigan residents across the state are working hard but still struggling and these credits can make a huge difference in their lives, but only if they know about them,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “This money often goes directly back to the local economy to pay for gas, groceries or child care, keeping these workers afloat while also benefiting our communities. We see everyone who interacts with Michigan residents as a partner in promoting these vital tax credits and hope everyone will join us in spreading the word.”

The federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) are the most significant tax credits available to Michigan workers, and the League is working hard to promote them to those that are eligible. For tax year 2016, a two-parent family with two children can receive up to $5,572 (depending on income level) from the federal EITC. For the 2014 tax year (most current state data available), about 775,500 households received the Michigan EITC, putting $111.2 million back into the local economy.

But the League is also looking to expand these credits to help more residents.

If the Michigan EITC were restored to 20 percent of the federal credit, as it was in 2011 before being cut by the Michigan Legislature, the average credit would have been $477 instead of the $143 it was. Additionally, the state EITC pulled nearly 6,800 taxpayers out of poverty in tax year 2014 compared to 22,000 in tax year 2011.

The League is urging Congress to expand the federal EITC to workers with low wages who are not currently raising children in their homes. These proposals would make between 459,000 and 541,000 workers in Michigan eligible for an EITC or allow them to receive a larger EITC, including up to 27,000 veteran and military members, 98,000 rural households and 160,000 workers under the age of 25.

“The EITC is an extremely effective pro-work, anti-poverty tool, and lawmakers should be working to improve its reach and impact,” Jacobs said. “The federal EITC is still leaving out half a million Michigan workers entirely, taxing many into poverty in the process. Restoring the Michigan EITC back to 20 percent of the federal credit will have a major impact on working families and the cities and towns they live in.”

County data on the Michigan EITC, including how many households received it, how much money it contributed to the local economy and what the benefits of restoring it would be is available at www.mlpp.org/our-work/eitc. State legislation, Senate Bill 26, has already been introduced this session to restore the Michigan EITC to 20 percent of the federal credit.

Taxpayers should be aware that due to new practices, the IRS will not issue refunds for the federal EITC or Child Tax Credit until after February 15th. People should avoid refund advances or loans, as they often have very high interest rates. Residents can also see if they are eligible for the EITC and get free tax help at michiganfreetaxhelp.org.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day highlights economic impact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman
Michigan League for Public Policy
Phone: 517.487.5436
E-mail: arossman@mlpp.org

Michigan League for Public Policy encourages families to apply for EITC, Legislature and Congress to pass expansions

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Friday, January 27 is Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day, raising awareness in Michigan and across the nation about the eligibility of many working men and women with low incomes for the credit and to advocate for the expansion of the EITC at the state and federal levels.

The federal EITC was started under President Gerald Ford and expanded by President Ronald Reagan, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has advocated for its expansion as a valuable tool to encourage work while fighting poverty. Twenty-six states including Michigan and the District of Columbia have enacted their own version of the federal EITC to help working families earning low wages meet basic needs.

The Michigan EITC took effect in 2008, providing a significant economic boost to the state. But starting in 2012, the state-level EITC was cut in Michigan from 20 percent of the federal credit to 6 percent, dropping the average credit received from $446 in tax year 2011 to $143 in tax year 2014. Additionally, the state EITC pulled nearly 6,800 taxpayers out of poverty in tax year 2014 compared to 22,000 in tax year 2011. State legislation, Senate Bill 26, has already been introduced this session to restore the Michigan EITC to 20 percent of the federal credit.

“As Michigan continues to rebound economically, the recovery is not being felt by workers at every level. It is imperative that the Legislature do more to help the people in our state who are working but still living in poverty,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “We’re calling for a full reinstatement of the EITC in Michigan. The EITC promotes economic opportunity, helps hardworking families make ends meet and enhances the lives of children. It promotes work, improves tax fairness, reduces poverty and boosts local economies statewide.”

Jacobs noted that workers in rural communities and urban neighborhoods alike benefit from the state and federal EITC, with nearly every dollar received as a tax credit spent in local economies. Click here to see individual county data on how many households benefit from the EITC, how much money it contributes to local economies and how residents and businesses would benefit from reinstating the state EITC to 20 percent.

Proposals are circulating at the federal level to expand the EITC to workers with low wages who are not currently raising children in their homes. These proposals would make between 459,000 and 541,000 workers in Michigan eligible for an EITC or allow them to receive a larger EITC, including up to 27,000 veteran and military members, 98,000 rural households and 160,000 workers under the age of 25.

“No worker should be taxed into or deeper into poverty, but that’s exactly what our current tax system is doing to workers without any dependents,” said Jacobs. “Bipartisan proposals to expand the EITC at the federal level to struggling workers not currently raising children in the home will lift hundreds of thousands of workers out of poverty in Michigan.”

About 775,500 taxpayers, raising over 1 million children, received the state EITC, claiming $111.2 million in credits in tax year 2014 at an average credit of $143 per taxpayer. The average state EITC recipient had an adjusted gross income of $17,866 and the average credit for a taxpayer raising two or more children was over $215. Click here for qualifying information at the federal level and click here for qualifying information at the state level. Residents can also see if they are eligible for the EITC and get free tax help at michiganfreetaxhelp.org.

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

After State of the State, League CEO Gilda Jacobs echoes call for investment in infrastructure, says Michigan’s recovery too one-sided

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Governor Rick Snyder’s 2017 State of the State address. The Flint water crisis and other infrastructure disasters, the problems with the state’s unemployment system, the future of the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Michigan Plan, and potential tax cuts and revenue strains are all major issues for the League. The statement can be attributed to Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“The fact remains that residents still cannot drink their water, and the governor and Legislature need to do whatever it takes to fix that now. But with bridges crumbling over our cars, our schools literally falling apart and endangering our kids, and homes sinking into the ground, as the governor noted, we need to address Michigan’s failing infrastructure around the state and prevent any more disasters from happening. That’s going to take bold leadership and I hope the governor will continue to be a strong ally in this effort. And though the governor didn’t come right out and say it, I will—cutting the state income tax and giving away millions or even billions in vital state revenue would be an economic catastrophe, not a catalyst.

“As for Michigan’s economic recovery, many everyday people in Michigan are still not feeling it. Poverty is still high around the state, especially in Northern Michigan and the U.P., and Flint and Detroit have some of the highest poverty rates in the nation for cities their size. Unemployment is down, but that only tells one part of the story, as many people are working and still not able to make ends meet. And 20,000 people looking for work and in need of unemployment assistance were wrongly accused of committing fraud and unfairly denied benefits, even being asked to pay stiff penalties. More needs to be done for the people who are working but are barely getting by.

“Finally, I appreciate the governor’s comments tonight in support of the Healthy Michigan Plan and I trust that he will continue to be a champion for health care and the nearly 1 million Michiganians who have received coverage through the Affordable Care Act as the program comes under fire in Washington in the weeks and months ahead.”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Revenue estimates call for caution, not more chaos and cuts

For Immediate Release: January 12, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman
arossman@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Income tax repeal latest threat to our air and water, schools, roads and public safety

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the revenue projections being announced at today’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. It can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“While state revenue estimates are up for the time-being, our economy is still far from booming. Lawmakers must be careful in their management of state dollars in the years ahead in order to encourage economic growth and avoid future budget problems. Legislators should heed recent crises with Flint’s water and Detroit Public Schools and use any extra resources to make investments in our state and its rundown infrastructure. Much more still needs to be done in Flint and other communities around the state, and lawmakers should be doing everything in their power to prevent such disasters from happening again.

“Unfortunately, lawmakers are considering doing the opposite by cutting taxes again, despite the many messes previous cuts have already caused. Time and again, the Michigan people have been promised an economic ‘boon’ from tax breaks that largely benefit the wealthy but the economic recovery has yet to come, at least for those who actually need it. The complete repeal of Michigan’s income tax would blow a $9 billion hole in the state budget, causing massive cuts to services people rely on, like our schools. An income tax reduction of even 0.1 percentage point would cost the state around $250 million, causing significant pain for residents. The water we drink, the schools our kids attend, the roads we drive on and the police officers and firefighters we rely on all depend on state funding and Michigan should be investing in these services, not hobbling them with another misguided and ineffective giveaway that will largely benefit the rich without creating any jobs.”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

Statement: Income tax reduction will not benefit Michigan

For Immediate Release: January 6, 2017

Contact: Karen Holcomb-Merrill
karenhm@mlpp.org
517-487-5436

LANSING-The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement in response to some Michigan lawmakers suggesting that Michigan’s income tax be reduced or repealed. The statement may be attributed to League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“Cutting Michigan’s income tax will not create jobs, will not grow its economy, and will benefit the wealthiest residents in Michigan. Our state’s tax system is already upside down because many low- and middle-income residents pay a greater share of their income than the wealthy, and an income tax cut would make this worse. We only have to look to Kansas to see that this sort of tax cut causes lasting pain, including huge cuts to our schools and other services residents depend on. ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.

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