Ingham Co. Dems Call For Repeal of Tax Hikes on Middle Class, Seniors

House Dems call for action as families struggle with new taxes
Monday, April 16, 2012

EAST LANSING - State Representatives Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing), Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga), Joan Bauer (D-Lansing) and Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) today at a press conference in East Lansing called on Republicans to rescind their new taxes on retirees and to restore tax credits to the middle class by supporting Democrat-sponsored bills that will relieve the burden on Michigan families when next year’s tax deadline rolls around. “It’s extremely important that residents realize that this time next year will be drastically different,” said Rep. Meadows. “Many credits and deductions that are integral to working families and seniors have been eliminated or greatly reduced. The returns people are getting this year will, unfortunately, be a thing of the past.” In the past year, the Republican-led Legislature has made many changes to the Michigan tax code that punish middle-class families, including the introduction of a tax on retirement income, a steep reduction in the homestead tax credit, a drastic cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the elimination of the child tax credit and tax credits for charitable donations. These changes were made to fund more than $1 billion in tax breaks for big corporations, effectively making Michigan’s poor and middle-class families pay for a hand-out to big businesses. The new taxes take effect this year, which means many taxpayers won’t feel them until it comes time to file tax returns next year. However, retirees have already seen their monthly checks take a hit as the state starts to collect withholdings on pensions and 401(k) disbursements. “Republicans pushed through these measures that hurt families in order to fund more than $1 billion in tax breaks to corporations,” said Rep. Byrum. “These hand-outs were given to corporations without securing a promise that these companies would create even a single job in return.” To correct this wrong, the Democrats have introduced several measures to undo these punitive changes and make Michigan’s tax system fair to everyone. These measures include House Bill 4818 to eliminate the senior tax and House Bill 5407 which would restore the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit for working families to the level it was at before Republicans cut it by 70 percent. “Passing these bills will bring immediate relief to Michigan families, who are already struggling to enter or stay in the middle class,” said Rep. Segal. “The Republicans’ harsh tax changes are a blatant attack on our hardest working residents and seniors on a fixed income. As Floor Leader, I plan on doing everything in my power, with the help of my Democratic colleagues, to stop any more damage the Republican majority is planning, because Michigan families simply cannot afford the unfair Republican agenda.” In addition to current introduced legislation, the House Democrats pledged to continue fighting against tax increases on the middle class and seniors every time a new, harmful tax is introduced to the Legislature and have kept Michigan taxpayers aware of the changes through a series of town halls held across the state. “We know Michigan families here in Ingham County feel they are under attack from these tax increases, “said Rep. Bauer. “We hear them tell us every day how they struggle to make ends meet so it is our job as their voice in Lansing to never stop fighting on their behalf.”