For Immediate Release
March 5, 2019
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 budget proposal. It can be attributed to President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs.
“As Gov. Whitmer outlined today, Michigan is at a crossroads and needs new direction to get on the road to opportunity, and we have an Owner’s Manual for state policymakers to do just that. Our state is currently a place where our water is putting our health at risk, our schools and students are struggling, our roads are damaging our cars and risking our lives, and our job market and workforce are often at odds. That all needs to change, and that change can start today.
“The governor’s budget addresses many of the League’s policy priorities for Michigan residents, including several watershed changes that we have been advocating for nearly a decade or more. This includes a much-needed increase in Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit—a bipartisan, pro-work policy and one of our greatest weapons against poverty—and while we would still like to see it fully restored to 20 percent or expanded further, doubling to 12 percent over two years is a fantastic start.
“We also applaud the major investments in education, with funding directed to many of the League’s primary points of emphasis—child care, preschool, literacy and third-grade reading, helping students at risk or with special needs, shifting more School Aid Fund dollars back to K-12 schools, improving access and affordability to higher education for high school graduates and skills training for adults.
“Whether it’s in our motto, on our state quarter, or visible on maps, globes and images from space, Michigan has always been defined by our water. But in recent years, ‘Michigan water’ has taken on a negative and deplorable connotation. We can’t ever have a repeat of the Flint water crisis, and we can’t let PFAS contamination get any worse, and this budget calls for bold but vital funding to clean up our water and our state’s reputation.
“Finally, as an organization who is constantly—and sometimes singularly—calling for increased revenue to invest in the things our state and people need, whether it’s through opposing tax cuts or calling for more equitable tax changes, we are grateful for the governor’s courage to increase revenue and make sure businesses are paying their fair share in her budget proposal. In 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature drastically shifted Michigan’s tax revenue stream from businesses to individuals, contributing greatly to the declining purchasing power of the state’s General Fund. Gov. Whitmer’s plan to increase the EITC and other changes discussed today make good progress to restoring that balance. Raising the EITC also offsets some of the regressivity of a gas tax increase and the League’s concerns around its impact on drivers with lower incomes. Finally, we think the benefits of the raised revenue and investments in this budget—to residents with low incomes and their families as well as our state as a whole—outweigh a gas tax’s impact.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.