MLPP Blog: Factually Speaking

Federal reform will expand immigrants’ economic contributions at the state level

Added August 19th, 2015 by Seema Singh | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Seema Singh

Despite ongoing political rhetoric designed to raise fear and animosity surrounding immigration, immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, contribute a great deal to Michigan’s economy. There are many reasons why federal immigration reform through expansion of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) makes economic sense for Michigan as a whole. (more…)

Tipped wages transfer business risks to workers

Added July 29th, 2015 by Peter Ruark | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Peter Ruark

Do you tip your server generously when you dine out?

Hopefully you do, because your server may earn less than you think. Restaurants are only required to pay their servers $3.10 per hour in Michigan, which is 38% of the minimum wage for non-tipped professions. (This will rise concurrently with the regular minimum wage to $3.52 by 2018, remaining at 38% at each wage step.) (more…)

A token tax cut — A bad deal for everyone

Added July 15th, 2015 by Rachel Richards | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Rachel Richards

When you think of road funding, your first thought is… a tax cut? Likely not, but earlier this month the Senate rolled out a road funding plan that included an income tax cut. This was an attempt to sweeten a gas tax increase. But as it turns out, it’s a bad deal for everyone.

This is a bad deal for you. It wouldn’t take effect until 2018 at the earliest. It’s not guaranteed – only when General Fund revenues grow faster than inflation. It likely amounts to token rate reduction in any given year. For example, if revenues rise 1% faster than inflation, you’re looking at a rate rollback of 0.04 percentage points – a family of four making $50,000 would see a tax cut of less than $15. And wealthier individuals will benefit the most from the across-the-board tax cuts. (more…)

Save the EITC!

Added July 8th, 2015 by Gilda Z. Jacobs | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Gilda Z. Jacobs

From the First Tuesday newsletter
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One of the state’s most effective tools for reducing poverty and building economic security is in jeopardy. House Republicans, led by Speaker Cotter, want to eliminate the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, effectively raising taxes on 780,500 low-income working families raising 1 million children. (more…)

Overtime rules just got better

Added July 1st, 2015 by Peter Ruark | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Peter Ruark

President Obama announced on Monday that the U.S. Department of Labor is making a rule change that will enable approximately 100,000 more workers in Michigan to get overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week.

Presently, employers are required to pay overtime only to workers earning below approximately $23,700 per year. To put that in perspective, the poverty level is $19,073 for a single parent with two children and $24,008 for a two-parent family with two children. That means workers with children currently must have wages close to the poverty level in order to get overtime! (more…)

Raise the minimum wage–again?

Added May 7th, 2015 by Peter Ruark | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Peter Ruark

There is a bill in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage in five steps to $12 an hour by 2020. We should all support it.

Readers may be thinking “Wait, didn’t Michigan just raise its minimum wage?” Yes, we did. In 2014, Michigan enacted a minimum wage that increases in four steps to $9.25 by 2018. But the federal Raise the Wage Act will help Michigan workers even more.

For one thing, even though Michigan’s wage is higher than the current federal wage, the proposed federal wage would inch higher than the current Michigan wage in mid-2017 and be significantly higher in succeeding years.


Voting yes on Proposal 1 is voting to improve our communities

Added April 29th, 2015 by Alicia Guevara Warren | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Alicia Guevara Warren

We all agree that we need better roads in Michigan, but we don’t agree on how we pay for them. With the various strains on the state budget, including a shortfall due to outstanding business tax credits and an increasingly overreliance on federal funds, it’s hard to imagine a proposal that fixes our roads, invests in our schools and local communities, and protects Michigan’s lowest earners.

Vote yes on Proposal 1 to once and for all guarantee funding for safer roads

Proposal 1 meets these objectives while any “Plan B” likely would increase road funding at the detriment of our schools, communities and vulnerable families.

Next Tuesday, voters will decide whether to back Proposal 1, a comprehensive, bipartisan plan or to take a chance with the new Legislature. There is a lot of frustration surrounding Proposal 1 for several reasons. Some people say “it’s too complicated” or “the Legislature punted the issue.” Yes, it is complicated and for good reason: A long-term, structural fix to fund our roads into the future has a lot of moving pieces that must be addressed. It can’t be simple.

But no, legislators did not punt the issue. They devised this plan that must be approved by voters. Raising Michigan’s sales tax requires a ballot proposal.

While Proposal 1 may not be perfect—no policy is—this is pretty good, and quite possibly, the best solution to all of our problems. Proposal 1 contains many benefits:

    • It removes the sales tax from gas purchases while increasing the gas tax to ensure that all of our taxes paid on gas go to support the roads.
    • It changes our flat tax rate to one based on the wholesale cost of gas helping it keep up with inflation so that the tax doesn’t lose its purchasing power and making funds more stable in the long-run.
    • Eliminating the sales tax on gas, which primarily supports schools and communities, means the sales tax must be increased to prevent cuts to schools and local governments.
    • Increasing the sales tax has the potential to hit the lowest earners the most; therefore, with the passage of Proposal 1, the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit would significantly increase from 6% to 20% to help offset the sales tax increase.

The Legislature has given the public a voice in deciding how to fund improvements to our quickly deteriorating and unsafe roads. We cannot sacrifice the possible for the perfect. Every day we wait to find a road funding solution, the costs go up for taxpayers.

Support for Proposal 1 is support for better roads, better schools, and better local communities to create a state where people will want to live, work, and play.

— Alicia Guevara Warren



Why kids count

Added February 19th, 2015 by Jane Zehnder-Merrell | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Jane Zehnder-Merrell

Recent news reports celebrate the decline in the unemployment rate and the quickened tempo of the recovery. But four years into the recovery, Michigan’s child poverty rates remain consistently high.

In 2013, one of every four children in Michigan lived in a family with income below the federal poverty level (roughly $18,800 for a single-parent family of three and $23,600 for a two-parent family of four), according to the latest Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, released today. (more…)

An income tax cut won’t boost the economy

Added February 9th, 2015 by Alicia Guevara Warren | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Alicia Guevara Warren

Cutting taxes won’t create jobs or grow the economy. Michigan is already facing budget cuts because there is not enough money to fund schools, public safety and other important services that we value. Reducing the income tax would create an even bigger hole in the budget, leading to more cuts and making it harder to create a strong workforce ready for the 21st century, according to a new fact sheet from the League. (more…)

Lopsided income growth hurts Michigan

Added January 26th, 2015 by Judy Putnam | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Judy Putnam

The top 1% in Michigan earned 25 times the income of the bottom 99%, a new report from Economic Policy Institute concludes.

The report ranks Michigan as the 15th most unequal state in the country and offers new evidence on why Michigan policymakers should refuse more tax cuts so that they can invest in building the skills of a 21st century workforce.

In Michigan, inequality looks like this:

•    $942,993 a year on average for the top 1% of taxpayers.
•    $37,324 average annual income for the rest. (more…)

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