When I was a little girl, almost every day of summer each year was spent at the small public library across the street from my family’s apartment. A familiar haven by the time I was 7, the library was where I could peruse dozens of books, access a computer, attend free movie screenings, and even win books through summer reading programs. Public libraries were a formative part of my childhood, and they continue to be a unique anchor in many communities across the state, in part because of the tax dollars that help fund them. I’m not alone in my appreciation of publicly funded services. Let me share how publicly funded programs have personally impacted some of my colleagues at the League:
Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO
“One of the reasons that I moved into my neighborhood 43 years ago was because my kids could ride their bikes to school, the community center and the public library. Our public school is top notch and our streets and sidewalks are snowplowed in the winter. And now my grandchildren enjoy the parks as well. All of this is made possible because my neighbors are willing to invest in all of these quality of life areas (yes-paying taxes!)”
Karen Holcomb-Merrill, Vice President
“When my kids were young, one of my favorite things to do was to read with them and to take them to the library to choose books. Now (a few years later!), my grandsons have also discovered the library in their community and going to pick out books is one of their favorite activities!”
Laura Ross, Communications Associate
“As a high school teacher, I work with kids every day whose families struggle to make ends meet. When tax day comes, I’m happy to contribute because I know that some of those dollars go to help students like mine. Kids can’t possibly get ahead academically if their families are having trouble meeting basic needs. I’m proud of the fact that my tax dollars go toward helping kids access food, healthcare and safe housing.”
Logan Drummond, Intern
“I attended the University of Michigan for my undergraduate education thanks to the financial aid that was provided by the school. Financial aid made it possible for my family to afford tuition, and it cleared the path for me to pursue a graduate school degree.”
Rachel Richards, Legislative Coordinator
“My family and I love and appreciate our public schools! As the daughter, granddaughter, sister and cousin of teachers, I understand the value and commitment that public school teachers contribute to schools across the state. Every day, teachers are helping to shape the minds of the future leaders of the world.”
My colleagues truly value the many public services and programs in communities across the state. Here’s the thing: public libraries and dozens of other important public services would cease to exist without our tax dollars. This is why, when I learned about the 2015 road funding package that included a personal income tax rate cut, I was incredibly frustrated.
This tax law was passed almost a decade before the first rate cut could even take place, making it impossible for economists to estimate the potential fiscal impact of tax rate cuts on vital public programs that Michiganders depend on. The personal income tax rate cut is set up in such a way that it triggers when state revenue exceeds a certain cap, beginning in 2023. The tax rate cut can trigger every year thereafter until the personal income tax is reduced to zero. A new report from the League shows that incremental cuts to the personal income tax would eventually eliminate a funding stream worth about $10 billion and put a significant strain on the state’s ability to fund schools, roads, safety net programs and public safety.
The truth is, if we love Michigan, we must fund Michigan. It’s time for policymakers to halt their attacks on important state revenue sources like the personal income tax. History has shown us that tax cuts are not an economic development strategy; they only dig us into a deeper fiscal hole. Policymakers must reverse this tax law before it’s too late. It’s the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do.
You can help us protect the services and program Michiganders care about by contacting your legislator today and letting them know that it’s time to reverse this dangerous tax cut trigger law. Contact your legislator today:
State Representative: http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/frmFindARep.aspx
State Senator: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html