SOUTHFIELD — Oakland County 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 that make it difficult to achieve and sustain a middle-class quality of life while coping with the rising costs of living.

“Working families are being squeezed from all sides,” said Sen. Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield). “While median incomes fell nearly 25 percent from 2000 to 2013, Republicans gave corporations $2 billion in tax breaks — while raising taxes on working families. My fellow Democrats and I believe we should be building Michigan’s future for our citizens, not just wealthy businesses, and our blueprint reflects that.”

 “Low- and middle-income families are getting hit from every angle, with declining income, reduced benefits, rising costs and disproportionately higher taxes, making it nearly impossible to get ahead.” said state Rep. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak). “So what did the Republican-controlled Legislature do? Pile on with a massive tax hike to pay for corporate welfare. We’re going to make it right and help Michigan families get ahead.”

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 households with income less than $100,000. 
  • A new dependent care tax credit to assist 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 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.

“It’s our job to make sure that our hardworking Michigan families see the benefits of their work and watch their kids succeed in school, go off to college and be successful in their careers,” said state Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). “Michigan workers, families, seniors and our kids – our future workers – build our communities and our state with their hard work, so it’s the right thing to do to make sure they are not unfairly burdened with higher taxes.”

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 Pew Charitable Trust.

“With declining job growth and wages, Michigan’s families are being shut out of any economic recovery,” said state Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park). “For our state to truly succeed, we need to rebuild our economy from the middle class out. That way, all Michigan residents can benefit, not just the wealthy and fortunate few.”

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.

“Michigan Republicans claimed that their tax cut giveaway to big corporations would create jobs and improve lives for Michigan families, but it hasn’t worked out that way, and it won’t ever work for Michigan families,” said state Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield). “Our plan puts Michigan residents and families first, and gives them the tax cuts, deductions and credits they need to really make a difference in their lives. They work hard for their money, and our plan will help them keep more of it.”

“The best way to keep our economy moving forward is to protect the middle class and help people achieve their goals and enjoy retirement,” said Sen. Steve Bieda (D- Warren).