Reps. Greimel, Abed, Schor, Singh Unveil the Tax-O-Meter

Meter counts the growing tax burden for middle-class families, retirees
Monday, October 14, 2013

LANSING – House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel(D-Auburn Hills) and state Representatives Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge), Andy Schor (D-Lansing) andSam Singh (D-East Lansing) today announced the Tax-O-Meter, a virtual display of by-the-second tax shifts in Michigan. These tax shifts are taking away money from the average citizen and giving it to wealthy CEOs and corporations. The legislative majority has increased Michigan’s middle-class families’ tax burden by $4,320,822 a day — or $50 every second, according to the May 2013 Michigan Department of Treasury Consensus Estimate. Because of this, the House Democrats are focused on restoring tax credits and deductions to middle-class families and repealing taxes on retirees.

“It’s no secret that people all over Michigan are hurting right now due to our unemployment rate and economy,” Greimel said. “To take away much-needed tax breaks for middle-class families and retirees is unforgivable. This just makes day-to-day expenses even more difficult to deal with.”

Last session, the Republican-led Legislature made severe changes to the Michigan tax code punishing middle-class families and seniors, including imposing a tax on retirement income, eliminating the Homestead Property Tax Credit for many families, drastically cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit and the elimination of the $600 per-child tax deduction and tax credits for charitable donations. These changes were made to fund nearly $2 billion in tax breaks for big corporations, effectively making Michigan’s low-income and middle-class families pay for a handout to these corporations. The new taxes took effect in 2012, and many taxpayers became aware of them for the first time as they filed their state income taxes this year.

“On Tax Day this year, many people were shocked to see the tax credits they had previously counted on were gone,” Abed said. “This was money people counted on to pay their bills or help make ends meet. To take that away and add to the struggles of middle-class families was just plain wrong.”

Earlier this year, Democratic state representatives heard the concerns of struggling Michiganders during their Real State of Our State Listening Tour. After the tour’s completion, legislators used this feedback to introduce bills, including the following:

• Repeal the new tax on senior retirement income

• Require employers to inform employees about the Earned Income Tax Credit

• Restore the Earned Income Tax Credit to 11 percent in the first year

• Restore the Homestead Property Tax Credit

• Restore the child deduction

Along with these initiatives, the House Democrats pledge to continue fighting against tax increases on the middle class and seniors every time a new, harmful tax is introduced to the Legislature, and to keep Michigan taxpayers aware of the changes through a series of town halls held across the state.

“These bills will be relief to Michigan families,” Schor said. “We know what has to be done to help and the best way to accomplish it. These bills will undo the tax increases imposed on Michigan working families and seniors since the Republicans took control of state government.” The House Democrat’s budget already has $781.8 million set aside to implement the changes from these bills.

“It is important people know exactly what they are losing and what is at stake if Republicans in the Legislature continue to make these decisions,” Singh said. “In order for things to change, we must make our voices heard.”