LANSING – House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township) and Democratic Floor Leader Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) today said that Michigan’s middle class families, senior citizens and students deserve better from the proposed state budget that offers a mere $20 in one-time tax relief, after Republicans increased their taxes by hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars last year. This proposal offers little extra funding for over-crowded schools and nothing for senior citizens reeling from the money they lost to the new pension tax. At the same time, the proposal will provide significantly more relief to the wealthy including Governor Snyder.

“The Republicans proved they still can’t relate to the average Michigan middle-class family by offering a tiny tax cut that wouldn’t help an individual let alone a family,” said Hammel. “Twenty dollars won’t buy prescription medicine, won’t fill up a gas tank and won’t help working families who lost hundreds of dollars with the drastic cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit. While we are glad that they realize that we need a tax cut, they still need to do much better and offer one that will actually help average Michigan residents.”

The Republican Leadership and Gov. Rick Snyder signed a budget agreement yesterday that sets target spending for the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget, and builds in the increased money available to the state that was announced at last week’s Revenue Estimating Conference. House Democrats argue that it’s time to make up for the hardship caused by the $1.8 billion corporate tax cut last year that was paid for with nearly a $1 billion cut to school funding, the senior pension tax, and individual tax increases made up by lost tax credits and deductions for families.

“This is the holiday weekend when Michiganders travel to spend time with their families and friends, but the proposed Republican tax cut of a mere $20 wouldn’t even buy the gas they’ll need,” said Segal. “This budget is another giveaway to big corporations like Amway, for instance, which announced this week it is getting a $1.6 million tax break from the state. Working families continue to struggle while those who have more get the best breaks. We need a budget that gives real money and not just an extra $20 in one time relief, and that restores funding to our schools so students don’t share a classroom with as many as 40 other kids.”