I will be holding a Tax Equality Town Hall on Wednesday, March 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Plumbers Local 98: 555 Horace Brown Drive in Madison Heights. I invite you to join me to learn more about my plan to create Tax Equality and restore Michigan’s Middle Class.
We will have certified accountants on hand to answer questions and provide residents with free tax filing information. We will also have experts on hand to answer questions residents have about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enrollment and tax related issues.
The town hall will focus on three crucial issues affecting Michigan’s Middle Class:
1. Michigan ranks 29th in personal tax equality
Why is it that an impoverished family living in Flint making $10,000 a year and a working-class family in Howell making $50,000 contribute 9.2 percent of their hard-earned money each year, while a billionaires contribute less than 5 percent toward an education system, workforce and infrastructure that helped them accumulate unimaginable personal wealth?
The answer is we rely too heavily on regressive sales and property taxes that excessively shoulder working families with the responsibility of funding our shared obligations – education, roads and communities.
2. Michigan ranks 48th in the percentage of local and state tax revenue contributed by businesses
In 2011, Republicans passed the largest tax shift – from corporations onto individuals –- in state history. As a result, individuals have seen their taxes increase by over $4 billion since 2012.
Today, businesses contribute only 36 percent of state and local tax revenue – 48th in the country – while working families contribute more than their fair share of the remaining 64 percent due to our regressive state and local tax structure.
3. Michigan has fallen from 16th to 35th in median household income since 1999
While the percentage of dual-income households has increased significantly, Michigan’s Median Household Income has declined by $15,633 (more than 24 percent) since 1999, and none of Gov. Snyder’s “reforms” have done anything but make the problem worse by shifting taxes from corporations onto working families and retirees, and cutting the essential services we all need to compete for jobs and shared prosperity.
Tax Equality is Vital to Michigan’s Future
In a nation founded on the principle of equality, how is it that those who can least afford it contribute the most, while those who accumulate unimaginable wealth contribute half as much to the state that helped provide them with the resources and opportunity to pursue their dreams?
While working families do more than their part to invest in Michigan’s future, corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent are not contributing their share to a state that educates their workforce, maintains the roads on which their goods move and provides healthcare to their low-income employees.
House Republicans recently announced a plan to reduce, or even eliminate, our income tax, the only tax that doesn’t disproportionately hurt working-class families. The House Republican’s plan would be disproportionately benefit the wealthiest 1 percent at a time when working families are being asked to shoulder more and more of our shared obligations.
Rather than further enriching millionaires and billionaires, we need to come together to address runaway tuition rates, fix our infrastructure and help our children succeed.
A graduated income tax, which has been adopted by 35 other states and the federal government, is an essential step in that direction.
A graduated income tax would provide Tax Equality by cutting taxes for 95 percent of Michiganders (over 4.4 million filers) and increase rates gradually on the top 5 percent to ensure everyone pays their fair share to:
1. Help restore our crumbling roads
2. Create safe, vibrant and sustainable communities
3. Provide our children with the education they need to realize their fullest potential
4. Lower tuition rates to ensure graduates aren’t burdened by unimaginable debt
Under my plan, income tax rates would gradually reduce for 95 percent of filers – single filers with less than $80,000 in taxable income and joint filers with less than $160,000. Income tax rates gradually increase for the top 5 percent – single filers with more than $80,000 in taxable income and joint filers with more than $160,000.
Taxable income is after the $4,000 personal exemption, $8,000 for joint filers, and all tax deductions. Michigan’s personal exemption is adjusted annually for inflation.
My plan would provide over 4.4 million filers with a $827.5 million tax cut to increase demand and stimulate economic growth in our local communities. Under my plan, the top 5 percent would pay their fair share, generating $400-$600 million in new revenue to help us invest in our classroom, roads and communities.
Michigan Under Current Law
Michigan Under a Graduated Income Tax
Why do this NOW?
The bottom line is working families NEED a BREAK. They have been HAMMERED by so-called “trickle-down economics” over the past 15 years.
Since 1999, median household income has decreased by more than 24 percent, $15,633 annually. This represents a huge loss in earnings for families.
While the unemployment rate has slowly declined since the Great Recession, wages have not recovered. Median household income remains 13 percent below pre-recession levels.
Working families NEED a BREAK.
I hope you’re able to join us to discuss these issues. As always, please feel free to contact my office anytime and I hope to see you on March 25!