News Releases

Support for “Heat and Eat” in House DHHS budget shows promise, but other unnecessary cuts disconcerting

For Immediate Release
April 18, 2017

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

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services budget (DHHS) passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee today. Unlike the Senate DHHS budget passed yesterday, the House budget included funding for the “Heat and Eat” program that will secure vital federal dollars while maintaining food assistance for 338,000 families in Michigan. However, the House DHHS budget includes unnecessary cuts from the governor’s budget—at the expense of children and families with low incomes—to pay for a reduction to the state income tax. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“Yesterday, we asserted that funding for the ‘Heat and Eat’ program should be a bipartisan issue, and today lawmakers in the House proved that it still is. We appreciate the efforts of House Republicans to leverage millions of federal dollars and extend food assistance to 338,000 kids, families, seniors and persons with disabilities, and hope their commitment can influence the Senate as budget negotiations continue.

“But aside from funding for ‘Heat and Eat’ and a modest increase in the clothing allowance, the House DHHS budget primarily does more harm than good. It includes significant reductions from the governor’s recommendations to pay for a state income tax cut that already failed once and a majority of the people of Michigan don’t want. Michigan residents understand the importance of quality state services, reliable public safety, safe roads and quality schools.  House leaders are jeopardizing these services in their current budget, but they will threaten them in perpetuity if they revisit an income tax cut.”

The League’s budget briefs have emphasized the impact cuts to state services have on our kids, our families and our quality of life—particularly in the DHHS budget. The League has worked closely on the “Heat and Eat” issue since it arose in 2014, and has been supportive of recent efforts to fix it.

The League has been vocal in opposition to any cut to the state income tax, and recent polling shows that a majority of Michiganians oppose a tax cut that will harm state services.

###

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.

On same day as Kids Count release, Senate passes DHHS budget that will harm kids and families

For Immediate Release
April 18, 2017

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

LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services budget (DHHS) passed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee today. The budget included more than $100 million in cuts from the governor’s proposed budget, including eliminating funding for the “Heat and Eat” program that will reduce food assistance for 338,000 families in Michigan and jeopardize federal funding, and removing the proposed funding increase for the clothing allowance for kids in need. The statement may be attributed to League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“As passed today, this budget will potentially turn away millions of dollars in federal food assistance for children, families, seniors and persons with disabilities. We were gratified to see bipartisan support in the current budget year for reversing the cuts to food assistance for 338,000 families across the state, and we hope that renewed bipartisan support can help save it.

“Overall, the continued cuts to the state’s health and human services are worrisome. Today, we put out our annual Kids Count report on child well-being which found that too many Michigan kids and their parents are still struggling. These parents are working full-time or even multiple jobs, but are still barely getting by and rely on state services to survive. These programs help make sure a child has something to eat, clothing to keep them warm and dry, and access to a doctor when they’re sick. These are real needs that require real services and real funding, and today’s budget bill undermines these needs when it should be fixing them.”

The 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book was released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today outlining the ongoing struggles of many Michigan kids and their families, and the League’s budget briefs have also emphasized the impact cuts to state services have on our kids—particularly in the DHHS budget. The League has worked closely on the “Heat and Eat” issue since it arose in 2014, and has been supportive of recent efforts to fix it.

###

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.

Historical and current public policies are causing wide disparities for kids by race, place and income

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Contact: Alex Rossman – arossman@mlpp.org  or
Alicia Guevara Warren – aliciagw@mlpp.org  517.487.5436

 

In its 25th year, 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book shows kids of color, families with low incomes face many barriers, kids’ challenges vary by community

LANSING—Historical and current public policies are adversely affecting Michigan kids’ ability to thrive and widening disparities in child well-being based on where a child lives, their race and ethnicity, and their family’s income, according to the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy.

According to the report, more than 1 in 5 (22 percent) Michigan children lived in poverty in 2015, a 15 percent rate increase since 2008, the last full year of the Great Recession. But the rates are significantly worse for kids of color, with 47 percent of African-American kids and 30 percent of Latino kids living in poverty compared to 15 percent for White kids in 2015. Nearly 28 percent of children in rural counties live in poverty, 24 percent in midsize counties and 22 percent in urban counties, although poverty increased at the highest rate for urban areas.

“No Michigan child should be experiencing poverty, hunger, abuse or neglect, regardless of where they are born and grow up, their race or ethnicity, or their family’s economic standing,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Just as past policies and practices have created these disparities, using a racial equity lens and a two-generation approach to develop policy solutions can help resolve them. In order to have a vibrant state for us all, lawmakers need to make sure all kids in Michigan thrive.”

Key data findings:

  • Working a full-time, minimum wage job leaves a parent with a family of three $1,657 below poverty each year;
  • Nearly 20 percent of mothers report smoking during pregnancy, with higher rates in rural communities;
  • 31 percent of mothers did not receive adequate prenatal care throughout their pregnancy;
  • Rate of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect rose by 30 percent from 2008; over 80 percent of incidents were due to neglect;
  • About 10 percent of children in Michigan are impacted by parental incarceration;
  • On average, monthly child care consumed 38 percent of 2016 minimum wage earnings; and
  • Nearly 17 percent of Michigan children live in high-poverty neighborhoods—but the rate is 55 percent for African-American kids and 29 percent for Latino children.

Key policy recommendations:

  • Promote comprehensive strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect, including the expansion of home visitation programs.
  • Ensure access to affordable, quality child care by raising eligibility levels for state child care subsidies and reforming the current system.
  • Increase funding for maternal smoking prevention and cessation programs and services.
  • Provide sufficient funding for early interventions to improve third-grade reading using a birth-to-eight framework.
  • “Raise the Age” of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old.

“The Michigan League for Public Policy has been fighting to protect Michigan kids since 1912, but child poverty is just as pressing now as it was then,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Too many Michigan families are working but barely making ends meet and are one financial emergency away from disaster. Simply having a job is not enough anymore, and we need stronger policies to support workers with low wages and their families.”

Since 1992, the Michigan League for Public Policy has been compiling and releasing the annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book to analyze and evaluate the well-being of children in the state. The 2017 book primarily compares data from 2008 to 2015 and analyzes 15 key indicators across four domains. The report also ranks 82 of the 83 counties for overall child well-being (Keweenaw County lacks sufficient data). The top three counties for child well-being are Ottawa (1st), Clinton (2nd) and Oakland (3rd) counties, with each of these counties moving up one rank from last year. The bottom three counties in 2017 are Oceana (80th), Iosco (81st) and Lake (82nd).

“As a doctor, I see firsthand how every element of a child’s family life and environment affects their health, and furthermore racial and economic inequities compound these challenges,” said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, former Michigan surgeon general and senior vice president of community health & equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System. “This book presents child data in a compelling way and uses it to help policymakers, advocates and service providers understand the policy and programmatic needs to support happy, healthy lives for all kids.”

For additional information on the 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, including the full report, state, county and regional rankings, charts and images, resources for advocates, frequently asked questions and county-specific press releases for 82 counties, go to http://www.mlpp.org/kids-count/michigan-2/2017-kids-count-in-michigan-data-book.

###

The Kids Count in Michigan project is part of a broad national effort to improve conditions for children and their families. Funding for the project is provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Frey Foundation, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Battle Creek Community Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute. More state and local data are available at the Kids Count Data Center, www.datacenter.kidscount.org.

Kresge grant helps League redefine health policy work in Michigan and Detroit

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2017

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

$600,000 grant funded two new health policy analyst positions, helps League improve integration of state health and human services

LANSING—A $600,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation awarded to the Michigan League for Public Policy will help transform the League’s health policy work in Detroit and around the state. The funding enabled the League to hire two new health policy analysts, one focusing on Medicaid and the other specializing in the social determinants of health.

“These policy analysts provide valuable expertise regarding additional opportunities to integrate health and human services policies that will lead to great health and well-being for Michiganders,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director for The Kresge Foundation’s health and human services programs. “The League will serve as a valuable resource for Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services as the department continues to develop integrated services for the state.”

The funding from The Kresge Foundation will support the League’s research and analysis examining the current health and well-being of Detroiters and Michigan residents. The League will identify gaps in state services and support systems and create specific policy recommendations to address those gaps. This work by the League’s two new health policy analysts will advance public policy change by supporting the integration of health and human services and helping lawmakers, state department officials and service providers better understand the connection between health and other factors.

“The Kresge Foundation has been a longstanding supporter of our work at the League, but this significant grant will help take our health policy efforts to the next level,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “We work on a variety of issues to improve the physical and economic well-being of kids and families in Detroit and around the state, and we are seeing more and more how all of these issues connect. A child’s health is directly impacted by their environment, nutrition and family’s income, and their health affects their education and future occupations and earnings. We need comprehensive strategies to tackle all of these issues, and this grant will enable us to do that.”

The League’s health policy analysts will research and write reports, analyze current and proposed policy, and work with partners, department staff and policymakers on social determinants of health and Medicaid-related issues. Emily Schwarzkopf, the League’s health policy analyst working on Medicaid, has hit the ground running as the League and our partners work to protect the Affordable Care Act and the state’s Medicaid expansion program, the Healthy Michigan Plan. Health Policy Analyst Julie Cassidy will be working on the social determinants of health, a relatively new focus of health policy work that takes a holistic approach and incorporates other needs and services.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit.

###

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.

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

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2017

Contact:
Alex Rossman
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.

###

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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

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. (more…)

View Press Releases added before September 28, 2010
Next Page »