LANSING – State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) again called for Michigan to join the majority of states and embrace tax equality. He joined with Rep. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park) to support putting the graduated income tax on the November 2016 ballot by passing HB 4341 and HJR A or K.

Irwin is the sponsor of HJR A, and, along with 35 other House Democrats, is a co-sponsor of Townsend’s House Bill 4341 and House Joint Resolution K. These bills and resolutions would create a graduated income tax that cuts taxes for 95 percent of Michiganians.

“Adopting a graduated income tax would mean 95 percent of taxpayers see a tax cut and we have more revenue for roads, schools and public safety,” said Rep Irwin. “Rarely do we have an opportunity to simultaneously raise revenue for important public priorities and give tax relief to 95 percent of the public.”

Under Michigan’s current system, when you add all our taxes up, the bottom 80 percent of families, those making $88,000 a year or less, contribute 9.2 to 9.5 percent of their income, while the wealthiest 1 percent contribute only 5.9 percent.

“A ballot proposal to establish this graduated income tax would create equal taxation for all, prevent the Legislature from raising our income tax in the future, and define the 2016 election,” said Wittenberg. “There is no reason a police officer, school teacher or a small business owner making $50,000 a year should contribute nearly twice as much of their income as a someone making $40 million a year, but that is how our tax system works, for now.”

Following the details of Rep. Townsend’s HB 4341, this plan would cut taxes for single filers with less than $80,000 and joint filers with less than $160,000 in taxable income.

Under the plan, a family of four making less than $176,000 would receive a tax cut that would reach as high as $600 a year for middle-income families.

According to the Department of Treasury, over 4.4 million filers, or 95 percent, would receive an $830 million tax cut and 89 percent percent of business owners would receive a tax cut.

A graduated income tax would also raise up to $760 million in new revenue to invest in education, roads and communities.

Thirty-three other states and the federal government have a graduated income tax, including Minnesota, which raised its top income tax rate in 2013 and saw an increase of residents earning over $1 million per year. Additionally, Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, compared to Michigan’s 5.4 percent, and its median household earns $9,000 a year more than Michigan’s.

“I’m very glad to have Rep. Irwin’s support for my plan to create equal taxation,” said Townsend. “We need lawmakers who are willing to lead on tough issues and advocate for policies that deliver real results for Michigan families. It’s time to fix this broken system that shelters the top 5 percent at everyone else’s expense. It’s time for tax equality.”