EITC Awareness Day

Since the IRS has declared today to be Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day, it seems like a good time to let people know about several EITC promotional resources and one policy issue.

First, the Michigan League for Public Policy has posted its 2014 edition of Money Back in Michigan, a packet describing each of the federal and state tax credits available to low-income households in Michigan.  If you work at an organization that serves such populations and you want to be sure they receive the tax credits for which they qualify, you may find this helpful. It includes brochures that can be posted on the wall of your health center, food pantry or social service agency. (more…)

Grand Haven Tribune: Report: Low-income Mich. students lag in reading

A report by a private foundation says 81 percent of Michigan’s lower-income fourth-graders and 69 percent of all kids aren’t reading proficiently. Jan. 29, 2014 — Grand Haven Tribune

Rolling back progress

The Senate Finance Committee Wednesday approved a bill to reduce the state’s personal income tax rate from 4.25% to 3.9% by 2017, a move that would reduce state revenues by up to $874 million when fully implemented in Fiscal Year 2018.

While the purely political appeal of a tax cut during an election season is obvious, the League testified, based on a recently released report, that the risks to Michigan’s economy far outweigh any benefits. Low- and moderate-income workers will see little in return while the wealthiest taxpayers would benefit the most. (more…)

Detroit Free Press: Bill to cut Michigan income tax from 4.25% to 3.9% by 2017 moves to Senate vote

As soon as it became apparent this month that Michigan had a $791-million budget surplus, talk of tax relief became rampant in the state Legislature. Jan. 29, 2014 — Detroit Free Press

‘Opportunity is who we are’

President Obama hit on several important themes Tuesday evening in his State of the Union address but one stood out for its clarity: opportunity.

The president noted that only in America could the daughter of a factory worker, Mary Barra, become CEO of General Motors; or the son of a barkeeper, John Boehner, become House Speaker; or could he, the son of single mom, lead the most powerful country on the planet.

He said he and his wife, Michelle, “want every child to have the same chance our country gave us.’’ (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. (more…)

Early reading critical

Michigan is losing ground on a key benchmark in its long-term goal of expanding its educated workforce. The state is among only six that showed no improvement in reading proficiency among fourth-graders over the decade between 2003 and 2013, according to a just released Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Almost seven of every 10 Michigan fourth-graders did not demonstrate reading proficiency in 2013—up 1 percentage point from 2003 while the national average dropped by 4 percentage points, according to the review of national test results across the states. Just over half (53%) of all fourth-graders in the best state, Massachusetts, scored below proficient in reading compared with almost four of five Mississippi fourth-graders. (more…)

Michigan Radio: Report: Michigan’s low-income 4th-graders need to improve their reading proficiency

A new report finds Michigan’s poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently. Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003. Jan. 28, 2014 — Michigan Radio

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…)

Lansing State Journal: Peter Ruark: Unemployment is too high to end benefits yet

Congress has a choice. It can renew unemployment benefits for laid-off workers as they continue to look for jobs, or it can refuse to renew benefits and cause hardship for their families and communities, writes League Senior Policy Analyst Peter Ruark. Jan. 18, 2014 — Lansing State Journal

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