Reflecting on my time as an intern at the League this semester along with the spirit of thanksgiving, I’ve come to realize how fortunate I am to have my healthcare, a college degree that will hopefully afford me job opportunities and the services that I can rely on for safety in my community.
With a majority of my work centered on tax policy, I have realized how complex our systems to handle the state’s revenue are. I have especially been discouraged by the latest proposals in the U.S. House and Senate to grow the deficit by more than a trillion dollars that would negatively impact you and me. I’ve spent time looking at how our tax structure through personal and corporate income taxes in Michigan is unjust toward individuals and doesn’t do enough to ensure a fair share from those who pay. I’ve spent time looking at how sales taxes are critical to fund our basic services.
The work may seem daunting and discouraging. But without doubt, my time at the League has been enlightening, educational and empowering. I attended and supported the annual League Public Policy Forum this fall, which brought attention to how the decisions being made in Washington affect us locally. I was fortunate to partake in an evening session by the Citizen’s Research Council and their Public Policy dinner, where a panel of journalists discussed the trouble of the false “fake news” phenomenon.
In all, my classes at Michigan State University have only been supplemented by this first-hand experience in the field of public policy for the state, which makes me feel exponentially more equipped to tackle these big issues in my next endeavor. With a goal to attain a master’s degree in public policy and run for public office, I hope to come back to the roots I’ve grown at the League by utilizing good policy recommendations and hopefully implementing them through legislative action that will create a stronger Michigan for our residents.
I would urge anyone who is largely unaware of what the League does to consider your daily needs and resources around you: whether it’s your health, your job, education for your children, or the services in your community. It is because of the research and advocacy provided by the League that we are able to present a collective voice for those who may not have experience with government or who lack the time or resources to follow issues in general. We know that tactics politicians use to make some of the simplest decisions complex are tactics that prevent you and me from becoming engaged. We cannot continue to let these tactics hurt us in the long run.
With unending concern about stability for services and programs at the national level of our government, it is critical that we keep a steady pulse on our ability to engage with our elected representatives. I am thankful for the full-time work of this organization in Lansing, because without the League and its dedication to research, I can only imagine that our state wouldn’t be on the path to a stronger place than it is today. Consider supporting the League this holiday season through a donation, and keep involved with the work that the League does to stay informed.
I would especially like to thank Gilda Jacobs, Rachel Richards and Alicia Guevara Warren for bringing me on this semester as an intern for the League, and for the overwhelming support of everyone on the staff that helped make my work possible and worthwhile.
— Lorenzo Santavicca