House Dems: Republican Leaders Fail to Create Jobs in First Six Months

Instead focus on taxing seniors, middle-class and poor; slashing public education
Thursday, June 30, 2011

LANSING - House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township) and House Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) today criticized Republicans for failing to create a single job in the first six months of this term. Instead of focusing on job creation, the Governor and Republican lawmakers have raised taxes on seniors, families and low-income workers while also cutting education funding.

“Throughout the campaign, we heard about the need to ‘reinvent’ Michigan,” Hammel said. “Unfortunately I don’t think the people of this state knew that the reinvention meant raising taxes on those who can least afford it and slashing school funding to give corporations an 83 percent tax break. Focusing on job creation will be the key to Michigan’s economic transformation, not shifting an unfair burden onto our seniors, families and children. “

So far this year the Governor and legislative Republicans have passed bills that have:

  • Raided the state’s School Aid Fund, which actually had a surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars, forcing local school districts to lay off employees, increase class sizes, close buildings, and cut bussing, sports, and many other programs.
  • Taxed seniors’ pensions, which they have worked hard for all their lives and planned their retirements around.
  • Decimated local control by enacting an Emergency Financial Manager law that allows the Governor to appoint individuals with broad powers to dissolve democratically elected local governments and school boards and stick cash-strapped cities with the bill.
  • Slashed funding to community colleges and universities by 15 percent, putting job training and a college degree farther out of reach for middle-class families and displaced workers.
  • Drastically reduced the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which will hurt 800,000 working families who rely on it to remain self-sufficient and taking millions of dollars out of our economy.
  • Endangered any private safety net by ending tax credits for donations to food banks and other nonprofits at a time when more and more residents, especially those from working families with children, are turning to them for help.
  • Vilified unemployed workers by becoming the first state in the nation to reduce the amount of time Michigan workers can collect unemployment from 26 to 20 weeks.
  • Added to unemployment and threatened our safe streets by cutting funding that local governments need to keep our police and firefighters on the street.

The Governor and Republican leaders passed tax increases and cuts to education to subsidize an 83 percent tax break for corporations, a plan that fails to guarantee the creation of a single new job. The Republican legislature has also failed to act on the proposed New International Trade Crossing (NITC), a project that would create tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

“The budget and tax hikes rammed through by the Republicans attack seniors and middle-class families while slashing funding in our classrooms in order to give handouts to major corporations,” said Segal. “Our workers are still waiting for them to come through on their promise to put them back to work. Democrats have been pushing vital economic revitalization projects like Hire Michigan First and the NITC to support our working families. The Governor and Republican legislators have instead pushed an agenda that includes wasteful spending like $31 million for Treasury just to implement a new tax hike and $10 million of taxpayer money solely to elect delegates to the Republican National Convention. What’s more, Republicans have taken away the right of people to vote in a statewide referendum election on many of their most harmful pieces of legislation. Republicans should work with us to put people back on the job now instead of curtailing their rights and making it harder for them to make ends meet.”