LANSING – Democrats in the state House and Senate announced a defining package of bills today to strengthen Michigan’s middle class and reverse one of the largest tax shifts in Michigan history. Called the Blueprint for Michigan’s Families, the bills take aim at stagnant incomes and tax increases which make it difficult to achieve and sustain a middle-class quality of life while coping with the rising costs of living.

“The cost of living is getting higher for many people, yet they make the same wage and are forced to pay more in taxes each year. The math doesn’t add up,” state Representative Tom Cochran (D-Mason) said. “We must act now to make sure Michigan’s middle class not only survives, but remains a strong part of our economy.”

The Blueprint for Michigan’s Families targets the rising costs of raising a family and paying for college by establishing:

  • A new $400 per-child tax credit for each child age 13 and under in a households with income less than $100,000. 
  • A new dependent care tax credit to help families with working parent(s) offset the cost of child care or caring for an elderly parent.
  • An expansion of the Homestead Property Tax Credit to families making up to $100,000, up from the current limit of $50,000.
  • A senior deduction that exempts the first $2,300 in income from taxation for residents age 65 and older.
  • A College Affordability Tax Credit of up to 50 percent of the amount paid on state and federal higher education loans for any employed Michigan resident.

While plan savings would vary, a family with two kids who owns their own home and has an income less than $100,000 could save as much as $1,500 per year or more.

“The Blueprint for Michigan’s Families is a plan to help parents raise a family, send their kids to college, own a home and stay in it during retirement,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills). “These are real solutions to the real challenges families face. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to turn these proposals into policies that will help the people of Michigan.”

The Blueprint for Michigan’s Families is a response to the massive tax shift orchestrated by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has increased taxes on the middle class, seniors and working families by $1.6 billion per year while cutting taxes for corporations by nearly $2 billion. Tax cuts continue to big corporations that don’t need them and conglomerates who send our jobs overseas. Additionally, about 95,000 Michigan businesses no longer pay state taxes on their revenue.

The tax cuts for corporations were sold on the promise that it would increase job growth. However, according to the state of Michigan, the rate of job growth actually dropped by 26 percent between 2010, the year before the tax cuts were made, and 2013. At the same time, annual household incomes in Michigan have declined by more than $12,000 over the last decade — down to a median income of $48,273 in 2013 from $61,551 in 2000, according to the Pew Charitable Trust.

The Blueprint for Michigan’s Families would recoup nearly $1 billion from the more than $2 billion in tax breaks corporations received, including those that outsource jobs and oil companies – and give it back to Michigan’s working and middle-class families.

“The idea of giving big corporations a break to help the middle class was never the right decision, and we can see how it’s failed in Michigan,” state Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-Meridian Twp.) said. “Democrats are committed to strengthening our middle class by giving them the tax breaks they need to survive in today’s economy.”