News Releases

Money Back in Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Money Back in Michigan offers guidance on tax credits
Filers urged to use free tax help and skip rapid refund centers

LANSING, Mich.— Low- and moderate-income Michigan households will find useful information this tax season in the latest Money Back in Michigan report released by the Michigan League for Public Policy. By using free tax filing help and claiming all available credits, tax filers can put hundreds or even thousands of dollars back into their pockets.

The 2014 edition of Money Back in Michigan outlines seven federal and state tax credits available to low- and moderate-income families. The guide also encourages tax-filers to use free tax preparation services and skip expensive “rapid refund” centers that can eat up a portion of the refunds. (more…)

Statement: Food assistance agreement far better than alternative

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Statement: Food assistance agreement far better than the alternative

The Michigan League for Public Policy released the following statement on the U.S. Farm Bill agreement affecting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, known as the Food Assistance Program in Michigan and formerly called food stamps. The House approved the compromise version today.

Remarks may be attributed to League Policy Director Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“The SNAP agreement approved today stands in sharp contrast to the draconian cuts in the original House bill that would have cut tens of thousands in Michigan from food assistance and would have harmed children, veterans, low-income seniors and those with disabilities.

No doubt, some households in Michigan will see reduced benefits through a change in the “heat and eat” option. The reductions, however, are far less severe than the House alternative.

The compromise, on the whole, is a good one and will keep the nation’s most effective hunger-fighting program largely intact. Many in Michigan rely on food assistance as they continue to struggle with unemployment and underemployment.”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, mlpp.org, is a nonpartisan state-level policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It convenes the Prosperity Coalition, prosperitycoalition.org.

Fourth-grade reading lags in Michigan

Contact: Judy Putnam or Jane Zehnder-Merrell at (517) 487-5436 or jputnam@mlpp.org, Janezm@mlpp.org

Editors: Image of map, infographic available
Reading scores: Most kids not prepared for success
Michigan one of six states with no improvement

LANSING, Mich. – In a new KIDS COUNT® data snapshot, the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that 81 percent of Michigan’s lower-income fourth-graders and 69 percent of all kids are not reading proficiently — a key predictor of a student’s future educational and economic success.

Early Reading Proficiency in the United States finds Michigan is one of just six states that did not make progress in reading over the last decade. The report concludes that if the reading trend continues, the country will not have enough skilled workers for an increasingly competitive global economy by the end of this decade.

“With almost half of Michigan’s children living in low-income families, these are truly alarming findings,’’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan project at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “We’ve disinvested in education over the past decade, and we can connect the dots from the lack of spending to these stagnating reading scores.’’ (more…)

No jobs from income tax cuts

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Across-the-board income tax cuts won’t create jobs

LANSING, Mich. – Across-the-board income tax cuts would not grow the jobs Michigan needs and would make it harder to keep the economy moving in the right direction, a new paper from the Michigan League for Public Policy concludes.

The policy brief, Tax Cuts Won’t Grow the Economy, looks at the decades of research and evidence from other states that show that tax cuts do not spur economic growth. (more…)

Statement: Income tax cuts hurt the middle

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Statement on the Michigan Revenue Estimating Conference from Karen Holcomb-Merrill, policy director at the Michigan League for Public Policy:

“Despite news that revenues will be higher than expected through next year, cutting income taxes will not create jobs and keep our economy moving in the right direction.

Cutting income taxes will help high-income households the most and take away critical resources from education and other public services that build the foundation for future economic growth. It will also put pressure to increase sales and property taxes to afford those critical services, shifting more taxes onto middle- and low-income working families.

Let’s protect our economic recovery by investing in education, worker training and other critical services.”

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The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to equal opportunity for all.

Kids Count in Michigan 2013

Contact: Judy Putnam or Jane Zehnder-Merrell at (517) 487-5436
Full report at: http://www.mlpp.org/kids-count/michigan-2/mi-data-book-2013
Resources for reporters (additional quotes, graphics and images): http://www.mlpp.org/resources-for-reporters 
Video and Infographic

Family income erodes, child abuse and neglect rises
Kids Count report seeks to improve child well-being in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. – More kids in Michigan are growing up in families struggling to make ends meet and more are suffering from abuse and neglect, according to the 2013 Kids Count in Michigan report, which also offers clear recommendations for a brighter future for those children.

Statewide, the most dramatic change was a 53 percent increase in the rate of young children who qualified for federal food assistance between 2005 and 2012. More than one in every three (37 percent) qualified for nutritional help because their families were living on incomes under 130 percent of poverty or less (about $31,000 a year for a two-parent, two-child family).

“Though the recession officially ended years ago, the toll on children is still apparent with the persistently high number of children living in need. It’s especially troubling that young children are growing up in poverty because research shows a deeper lifelong impact of deprivation during early childhood,’’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. (more…)

Skillman Foundation funds Kids Count

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Skillman funds work on Michigan child well-being

LANSING, Mich. – The Detroit-based Skillman Foundation has awarded $85,000 to the Michigan League for Public Policy for the 2013 activities of the Kids Count in Michigan project.

Kids Count in Michigan compiles an annual review of a core set of measures of children and youth in Michigan, the 83 counties and the city of Detroit. Those measures are in four categories: health, economic security, education and family and community. In addition to the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, the project provides an annual report on maternal and infant health and conducts a public education campaign to improve the status of children. (more…)

ReInvest Express rollout

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Rolling through Michigan: Peace, love and budget understanding

The following is a statement released by Michigan League for Public Policy President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs on the launch today of ReInvest Express, a group of faith-based leaders who are traveling to six cities to promote a state budget that reflects the people’s priorities. (See more at http://tubmanorganizing.org/reinvest.) Jacobs will speak at the 1 p.m. Wednesday news conference at the state Capitol (Room 402-403B).

“The faith leaders who are traveling through Michigan today and Wednesday have the right idea: We need to invest in our youth, our cities and our families. This will lead to better education of our youth, safer communities and more help to keep low-income parents on the job and working. The list of priorities is a good focus for our future.’’

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The Michigan League for Public Policy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to economic opportunity for all. It convenes the Prosperity Coalition.

Ten steps to improve the economy

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 410-5798 (cell)
Editor’s note: See short video introduction here

Investments needed for Michigan’s path to prosperity
 Ten steps state must take to strengthen its economy

LANSING, Mich. – Investing in kids and families, education, and community services that attract young professionals and businesses are some of the actions that Michigan must take to grow its economy.

The Path to Prosperity: Ten Steps Michigan Must Take to Strengthen its Economy, released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today, concludes that the strategy of slashing business taxes and reducing vital services such as education isn’t working. (more…)

ReInvest Express rolls Tuesday and Wednesday

To: Reporters and editors
From: Michigan League for Public Policy
Re: ReInvest Express rolls Nov. 12-13 to promote the right state budget priorities with a 1 p.m. Wednesday news conference at Capitol

A six-city tour by faith leaders Nov. 12-13 will culminate with a 1 p.m. Wednesday ( Nov. 13) news conference and forum at the state Capitol, Room 402-403B. The Michigan League for Public Policy is a partner in the event organized by the Harriet Tubman Center. A series of rallies will call for Gov. Snyder to develop a new budget that invests in youth, cities and families for a vital economy that works for all.

Cities/events:
Grand Rapids: 8-9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12,  St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 301 Sheldon Blvd. Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Kalamazoo: 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, Bronson Park, 200 S. Rose St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Battle Creek: 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, Trinity Lutheran Church, 2055 Columbia Ave. E., Battle Creek, MI 49014
Metro Detroit: 6:45-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, Hope United Methodist Church, 26265 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI 48076
Flint: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, Catholic Charities Center for Hope, 911 Chippewa St. Flint, MI 48503
Lansing: 1 p.m. news conference and forum, 1-3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, state Capitol, Room 402-403B, Michigan State Capitol, 100 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing 48933

Contact: David Anderson 313.312.5484 / 610.442.9266
For more information: http://www.tubmanorganizing.org/reinvest

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