News Releases

Statement: Supreme Court ruling affirms healthcare security for Michigan

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2015

Contact: Karen Holcomb-Merrill
karenhm@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act in King V. Burwell. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“This is a huge relief for the over 300,000 Michigan residents who rely on the federal insurance subsidies to keep them out of health and financial disaster. The Affordable Care Act and the federal exchange are critical supports providing all Americans with access to affordable, quality health care. We are thrilled with this ruling.”

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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.

 

Workers need family-friendly jobs, not laws against them

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Report details how lawmakers can improve jobs, House bill not among them

LANSING – No one wants their meal served with a side of flu or sick children sent to school or child care, but it happens every day across Michigan with low-wage workers losing critical income if they miss work.

Lack of earned sick leave as well as paid family and medical leave, predictable work schedules, and adequate child care assistance in Michigan puts low-income families in a constant struggle to achieve financial self-sufficiency, according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy. That harms everyone with dangers to public health, and greater reliance on public assistance and remedial education to help kids in low-quality child care.

House Bill 4052, expected to receive final passage in the state Senate today, goes against recommendations in the report, “Valuing Families, Valuing Work.” The bill prohibits local governments from passing ordinances to improve workplaces on issues related to sick leave, predictable schedules and minimum wage.

“The best way to escape poverty, support a family and move toward economic security is through work, yet not all jobs have the reliability and flexibility that workers need in order to stay employed and contribute to the economy,” League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill said. “Most middle- and upper-income workers take for granted that they know when they will work and can plan around it, or take time off when they aren’t feeling well or to care for a sick child. But those are luxuries for too many low-paid workers who have to choose between going to work sick and paying their rent.”

The report outlines four ways Michigan legislators can improve the workplace to help low-paid employees meet the needs of their families and help society in the long-run:

  1. Require all employers to provide earned sick leave.
  2. Urge Congress to establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.
  3. Require employers to create predictable schedules.
  4. Update and strengthen the state child care subsidy to reflect reality.

Other legislation pending at both the state and federal levels would require employers to provide earned sick leave, a notion that receives strong public support. A recent poll by Denno Research found 86 percent of Michigan voters agree that every worker should be able to earn sick days in order to take time off without losing pay. Another Congressional bill would provide workers with 66 percent of their income for up to 12 weeks of leave due to serious illness or pregnancy. The program would be funded through small employer and employee contributions.

Low-income workers also are more likely to have irregular work schedules making child care difficult to find as well as wreaking havoc on family budgets when shifts are canceled or shortened. Child care also is a major expense for families, accounting for up to 30 to 50 percent of monthly expenses, and Michigan’s child care subsidy must be updated to better support children at the highest risk for poverty-related issues.

“These are common sense fixes that everyone should support to help all families thrive,” Holcomb-Merrill said. “This is about making sure jobs are in fact helping workers support their families rather than creating chaos and endangering children’s well-being.”

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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: A bad day for Michigan’s families & children

For Immediate Release
June 10, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the House vote to eliminate the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Senate’s approval of a package of bills allowing agencies to deny adoptive and foster placements based on religious beliefs. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“This was not a banner day for Michigan’s children and families who were beat up in both the House and Senate.

“We are greatly disappointed in the representatives who voted to raise taxes on Michigan’s most vulnerable working families, and we are fearful for the thousands of families who will be pushed into poverty as a result and the rest who will struggle to make ends meet.

“Make no mistake: Eliminating the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit is a tax increase on 820,000 hard-working families in Michigan and it reduces the chances of success for more than 1 million kids. These are families who work and work hard to provide for their children on low- and moderate-incomes. And while the credit amounts to pocket change for our legislators, it means a great deal to the families trying to survive on a fraction of a representative’s income.

“Without this tax credit, many families will struggle to afford housing, child care and transportation so they can remain in the workforce and take steps toward self-sufficiency. We are grateful to the representatives whose common sense and conscience led them to vote against this bill, particularly the Reps. John Bizon of Battle Creek, Thomas Hooker of Byron Center, Martin Howrylak of Troy, Holly Hughes of Montague, and Brandt Iden of Kalamazoo.

“We also thank Sen. Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights for voting against bills allowing agencies funded with public dollars to discriminate based on religious beliefs against potential foster and adoptive parents. These bills put up more barriers for getting children in the child welfare system. into loving and supportive homes. They certainly are not in the best interest of children.

“These bills are shameful. We remain hopeful that the Senate will see the intrinsic value of the EITC and refuse to pave the roads on the backs of working families, and we hope that Governor Snyder will see the religious freedom bills as the discrimination they are and veto them.”

 

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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.

 

Hope for new roads deal on Mackinac Island

For Immediate Release
May 27, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – Fixing Michigan’s roads is certain to be a large topic of discussion among legislative, business and civic leaders at this week’s annual policy conference on Mackinac Island – a destination experienced by few of the 820,000 low-income families who are slated for a 6 percent tax hike under the House GOP transportation plan.

A new fact sheet by the Michigan League for Public Policy shows that the plan to eliminate the state Earned Income Tax Credit would push 7,000 working families into poverty and leave hundreds of thousands more struggling to make ends meet.

“This plan paves Michigan’s roads on the backs of our working poor,” said League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. “It robs poor Peter to pay Paul at a time when these families still are reeling from the Great Recession. Not everyone has recovered yet, and certainly not these families who are barely scraping by. Taking away more of their earnings is just wrong.”

The House Roads and Economic Development Committee will take testimony on House Bill 4609, eliminating the EITC, at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 2.

If approved, it would be the second tax increase in five years on this same population of working families with low-wage jobs. The first was in 2011, when lawmakers cut the state credit from 20 percent to 6 percent – a $285 million tax hike on our lowest earners, while at the same time giving businesses a $1.65 billion tax break. The cut dropped the average credit from $430 to $143.

Studies show the Michigan EITC is one of the state’s most effective tools for reducing poverty and building economic security. At the full 20 percent, the credit lifted more than 20,000 working families above the poverty line and eased hardship for many more. At the current 6 percent, it lifts about 7,000 working families above poverty.

The EITC has long?lasting, positive effects on children, helping them do better and go farther in school. The EITC also increases work effort and strengthens Michigan’s economy by allowing working families to keep more of their income to help pay for housing, child care, and transportation so that the family can remain in the labor force and take steps toward self?sufficiency. Without the tax credit, families will have less to spend at local businesses. Eliminating the credit would provide just $117 million for the $1.2 billion roads plan.

“That’s a drop in the bucket for the state but a huge amount for one million Michigan children and their families,” Jacobs said. “This isn’t a good plan for anyone – not the families, not our communities, not our businesses. We are hopeful a new deal can be crafted that protects our working families.”

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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: Truancy bill will drive up poverty

For Immediate Release
May 26, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement today on House Bill 4041, terminating cash assistance for families if a child between the ages of 6 and 15 is considered truant by their local school district, or for the minor alone if over age 16. The bill was passed by the Senate and was sent for concurrence to the House. The statement may be attributed to League President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“With more than half a million Michigan children living in poverty and the needs of too many families unmet, our state should be doing everything possible to lift them up, not push them deeper into economic crisis.

“That’s exactly what this bill does. It is unnecessarily harsh on families and children who are living in extreme poverty with less than $10,000 a year for a family of three. The vast majority – 73 percent – of cash assistance recipients are children, with an average age of 7. These families have very few resources and already face a number of challenges, including inconsistent work schedules, lack of access to affordable child care, and reliable transportation – some of the main barriers to regular school attendance.

“The goal of increasing school attendance is laudable; we all want students in school, learning and getting the education needed to end the cycle of poverty. But this bill won’t get kids to school. However, it is certain to push more of kids deeper into poverty, making it even more difficult to get to school. We urge Gov. Snyder to veto this bill.”

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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: Enough funds to support key investments

For Immediate Release
May 15, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the results of today’s Revenue Estimating Conference. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“With state revenues exceeding expectations, we are hopeful that lawmakers will find the funds needed to support Gov. Snyder’s efforts for Michigan’s working families and students. His proposals to support adult education and boost third grade reading, child care payments and inspections, and dental care for more children are paramount to helping Michigan children succeed and their families gain economic security.”

 

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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: House GOP paves roads on backs of poor

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the road funding plan announced today by House Republicans. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.

“This proposal is our greatest fear: it eliminates one of the few tax credits helping to bring low-wage workers out of poverty and paves the roads on the backs of our most vulnerable people. (more…)

Statement: Plan B must protect low-income families

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
517.487.5436 o
517.214.5994 c

LANSING – The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on today’s failure of Proposal 1. The statement may be attributed to League President & CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.

“We are deeply disappointed that Proposal 1 was not passed by the voters. Michigan needs an ongoing and dedicated revenue stream to fix our roads that this proposal provided while protecting schools, local communities and low-income working families. (more…)

State must invest in renewable sources and energy efficiency measures

For Immediate Release
April 16, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

Report: Low-income families and communities of color suffer most from carbon pollution, energy costs 

LANSING – Low-income families and communities of color are disproportionately affected by high energy costs and pollutants from coal-burning power plants in Michigan, suffering more health problems such as asthma and spending a larger chunk of their income on electricity bills, according to a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The report, “Clean Energy Brings Health, Savings and Jobs to Low-Income Michigan Families,” details the problems fossil fuels bring to these populations and how they benefit the most from investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

(more…)

Kids Count in Michigan wins grant from Skillman

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2015

Contact: Stacey Range Messina
smessina@mlpp.org
517.487.5436

LANSING – The Detroit-based Skillman Foundation has awarded $85,000 to the Michigan League for Public Policy for the 2015 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, 82 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. The League partners with Michigan’s Children to disseminate the information in order to improve policies and programs for children.

(more…)

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