MLPP Blog: Factually Speaking

Michigan considering replicating Kansas’ failed tax cut “experiment”

Added February 17th, 2017 by Michael Mazerov | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Michael Mazerov

Michigan lawmakers are seriously considering bills to start phasing out the state’s income tax sooner than scheduled under current law. Both proposals would likely force some combination of deep cuts in critical services like education, health care, and infrastructure and increases in sales and other regressive taxes. And, just as Kansas learned from its disastrous “experiment,” cutting personal income taxes won’t likely boost the state’s economy in any meaningful way.

Under current law, the income tax could begin phasing out in 2023, with small tax cuts taking effect (or “triggering”) any time annual revenue growth exceeds roughly one and a half times the inflation rate. Triggers like this, however, don’t make large tax cuts fiscally responsible, as our recent report explains. (more…)

Investing in infrastructure … just words until you make the human connection

Added February 8th, 2017 by Gilda Z. Jacobs | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Gilda Z. Jacobs

From the First Tuesday newsletter
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I want to share with you a highly personal story about the death of my daughter Rachel in May of 2015 when the train she was riding from Philadelphia to New York derailed. It derailed because Amtrak (funded in part by our federal tax dollars) hadn’t yet installed a proven emergency safety braking system.

This widely recognized technology would have stopped the train that was careening uncontrollably at high speed down the track. The technology to stop this accident from happening has been around for years. It just wasn’t installed. As a result, Rachel and seven others lost their lives needlessly. Eight people died who had dreams and families and futures. They didn’t have to die. It didn’t have to happen. My 4-year-old grandson would still have his mommy if someone had “invested in infrastructure.” (more…)

Help protect the Affordable Care Act

Added January 31st, 2017 by Emily Schwarzkopf | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Emily Schwarzkopf

I’m here to admit it. I’m a health policy nerd. I danced around my office when Michigan received a very important Medicaid waiver and I’m pretty sure all of my friends are tired of me talking about the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Luckily this passion (and a fantastic opportunity) recently landed me a job with the League as a health policy analyst!

I come to the League after nearly four years working on budget and health issues at the Michigan House of Representatives. To this day, my proudest professional accomplishment is my work on the development of Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program, or Healthy Michigan Plan, under the ACA. Working with a diverse coalition of business groups, healthcare advocates, and Republican and Democratic legislators, we were able to develop a comprehensive and unique system of providing healthcare to working people. To date, 646,745 people have enrolled and enrollees have made 2.8 million primary care visits, which has resulted in uncompensated care costs dropping by nearly half in Michigan hospitals. Medicaid expansion is just one important component of the Affordable Care Act—but it’s not the only thing. (more…)

Happy EITC Awareness Day!

Added January 27th, 2017 by Rachel Richards | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Rachel Richards

Tax season officially opened on Monday, January 23rd, and Michigan residents should be aware that there are a number of ways the federal and state tax code helps keep more dollars in your pockets and in your local economies. One of the best ways our tax system does this is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is one of the most effective anti-poverty tools we have. This credit rewards working Michigan residents and helps them take steps toward self-sufficiency, and it has long-lasting, positive effects on children.

And EITC Awareness Day today helps ensure that workers with low and moderate incomes who qualify actually know about and receive it. (more…)

Turning understanding into action

Added January 19th, 2017 by Jenny Kinne | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jenny Kinne

My first introduction to the Michigan League for Public Policy came this past summer in the form of a State Budget 101 Training. It had been a long week, and I wasn’t sure if budget talk was going to keep my attention. Gratefully, I was very wrong.

The League’s staff presented data and stories in a way that helped me to understand and criticize the foundational budget policies that throw people into poverty across Michigan. The information was so enlightening and exciting that I kept talking about it, Googling it and crafting new ways of sharing it for weeks afterward. (more…)

Lawmakers: First, do no harm

Added January 9th, 2017 by Rachel Richards | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Rachel Richards

Michigan seems to have caught a case of the “Kansas.” I woke up last week to reports that Michigan is considering eliminating, or at least cutting, its income tax. Let me be clear: this type of Kansas-style tax cut is not a cure for Michigan’s economic ails, and instead will only bring pain to the state. Cutting Michigan’s income tax will not create jobs and will not grow our economy. It will, however, give a big tax break to Michigan’s top earners, while hurting our schools, roads, parks and other services that are so important to our economy and quality of life. (more…)

Resolute and resilient for 105 years

Added January 3rd, 2017 by Gilda Z. Jacobs | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Gilda Z. Jacobs

From the First Tuesday newsletter
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Founded in 1912, the Michigan League for Public Policy has seen a lot in our 105 years. We’ve faced many challenges in our state, our country and our world, but we’ve had major triumphs, too.

Through all of the tumult, change and progress over the last century, the League has been a constant in fighting for the people of Michigan. But we don’t just fight—we win.

I hope you still believe that working for policy change can make a difference … because it has. In looking back on the past year, we’ve got a lot of good news to celebrate. We did this all despite Michigan’s tough political climate, and it’s all thanks to you. (more…)

The League’s top blogs of 2016

Added December 29th, 2016 by Alex Rossman | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Alex Rossman

The League’s staff blog is one of my favorite communications tools. It is always current, as we aim to post at least one new blog a week, sometimes more. It is personal, as many of us share about our personal lives and experiences in connection with what we do at the League. The blog provides a variety of perspectives, as they are written by everyone from our CEO and board members to our interns and even former staff. And our blog strives to make public policy issues interesting and accessible.

A blog is only as effective as its reach, and what I love the most about our staff blog is that people actually read it and share it with others. So, as 2016 comes to a close, I wanted to take a look back at our most popular blogs of the year. Each of these blogs was shared over 100 times, showing that these issues struck a chord with our supporters. If you’ve already read these, I encourage you to take a look at them again. And if these are new to you, I hope you’ll give them a read.

  1. When are we going to really value education?: Michigan Kids Count Director Alicia Guevara Warren talks about Michigan’s disinvestment in education and how the state spends dramatically more on corrections than education.
  2. Why we fight: I wrote about the aftermath of the 2016 election and why policy advocates need to dust ourselves off and keep fighting the good fight.
  3. Angry about Flint? Be part of the solution: Policy analyst Peter Ruark writes about his volunteer work in Flint and the need for people to get involved on the ground and in the Capitol to help residents.
  4. Changing minds by touching hearts: League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill blogs about the lives and hearts our work touches.
  5. Top ten voting tips: League CEO Gilda Jacobs writes about the importance of voting and dispels some prevalent myths around the process.
  6. Quit spreading misinformation: Michigan is NOT a high tax state: Legislative Director Rachel Richards seeks to set the record straight on Michigan’s tax climate.
  7. Bundle of joy: Gilda Jacobs discusses the birth of her new granddaughter and why we need a better Michigan and a better world for all kids.
  8. Michigan, 20 years after “welfare reform”: Peter Ruark blogs about the impact still being felt in Michigan today from the federal welfare reform of the 1990s.
  9. 14,000 unemployed workers will soon lose food assistance: Peter Ruark writes about a policy change that will take away vital food assistance for struggling workers.

—Alex Rossman

Big wins well worth the wait

Added December 21st, 2016 by Rachel Richards | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Rachel Richards

Michigan’s lame duck session tends to be a time when tensions run high and controversial issues get revived. The Capitol lobby is always filled as interest groups try to push their agendas or fight against other policy changes, deals are made behind closed doors, and unexpected legislation gets voted on as the chamber enters its 12th hour of voting. In this contentious time, sometimes you’re lucky if you fight to a draw. (more…)

14,000 unemployed workers will soon lose food assistance

Added December 13th, 2016 by Peter Ruark | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Peter Ruark

Around 14,000 unemployed Michigan workers are about to lose vital food assistance due to Michigan’s so-called economic recovery, even though many of these individual workers are not seeing any relief.

Federal law stipulates that able-bodied adults without dependents who receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits must work or participate in a training program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. If they have more than three months of benefits in which they do not meet those requirements within a 36-month period, they lose their benefits.

Since 2002, due to its high unemployment rate, Michigan has received a statewide waiver from the three-month limit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Due to declining unemployment, that waiver will begin to expire this month beginning with four counties (Oakland, Washtenaw, Kent and Ottawa). The state expects the waiver to be eliminated for all counties by October 2017. (more…)

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