Making Michigan a true comeback state

Added January 14th, 2014 by Judy Putnam | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Judy Putnam

You may be hearing a lot about “surplus” revenue as the state budget season kicks off – and more importantly, how to spend it.

Last week, the House Fiscal Agency, Senate Fiscal Agency and Michigan Department of Treasury, put their heads together to give a new prediction. The upshot — nearly $1 billion more than expected. It would have been higher, but Treasury gave a very conservative estimate of $700,000 in unexpected revenue for the three years — the 2013 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the 2014 fiscal year that started Oct. 1 and Fiscal Year 2015.

Calling it “surplus” is a stretch — it’s really revenue that came in higher than predicted in May. It does show that Michigan is recovering, though very slowly. Even before the updates were in, however, some were deciding how to spend it with an income tax rollback.

Rolling back the income tax will not produce the jobs we need, and it will not grow the economy. The income tax is a key to paying for very critical services – education, public safety, help for abused children and healthcare. We starved some of these vital services during very difficult economic times over the past decade.

Here’s the League’s statement from Policy Director Karen Holcomb-Merrill on the revenue and potential income tax rollback:

“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.”

Please stay tuned and get ready to speak up. Be prepared to tell your state representative and state senator that we need to reassess and rebuild our state by investing in education, higher education, worker training, communities and public safety.

Next step is the Thursday State of the State address by Gov. Snyder who thankfully, so far, has not supported an income tax reduction.

Michigan may again be called the “comeback state.” Yes there’s evidence that a recovery is underway, but let’s make sure Michigan is the comeback state for all, not just a lucky few.

— Judy Putnam

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