William Crandell: One time tax break is cheap trick

Published 8:55 am Thursday, January 16, 2014

Last week it was announced by Michigan’s Department of Treasury that our state will generate a budget surplus of $971 million over the next three years.

With an election year upon us, many Michigan Republicans now want to give away an election year tax break or a one time tax rebate or possibly lower the state’s income tax.

This blatant attempt is designed to improve their tarnished image and possibly win over many of the working class families that they have alienated over the pass three years with their radical agenda. But a one-time tax cut will not make up for their vicious attacks on education, seniors and the working poor nor attend to the issues that plague this state.

Gov. Snyder recently stated that the surplus is evidence that his policies are working. Referring to his 2011 state budget, where he made radical cuts to education, unemployment insurance, removed the tax credit for charitable donations, instituted a pension tax on seniors and pillaged Michigan’s social programs to give away $1.8 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy. With the 2011 budget Snyder also cut state supported revenues from local communities leaving our police and fire departments woefully underfunded and leaving those communities struggling to provide the most basic services such as snow plowing and road repair. To make up for some of these irresponsible funding cuts he increased the tax burden on over half of Michigan’s working families who saw their personal share statewide increased by $1.4 billion while corporate taxes were cut by $1.7 billion leaving the hardworking men and women of Michigan to foot the bill.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan’s current unemployment rate stands at 8.8 percent which is 49th in the nation. That equals 425,000 people in this state who are unable to find work. If the governor and the state GOP really want to help their constituents they should use that money to strategically improve failing infrastructure to attract more businesses and provide more funding to save our financially deteriorating schools. Ten percent of our school districts are now operating in a deficit because of funding cuts and over a dozen new districts were added to that list last year. They should also consider reinstating the state Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit to give Michigan families long term relief instead of a one time tax refund designed to attract votes.

Lowering the state income tax is nothing more than a cheap trick and a transparent attempt to win over the hearts of the independent voter and the disenfranchised republicans who are pulling away from the extreme agenda of the Tea Party-led state GOP.

Cutting income taxes will not create any jobs or improve our states’ economy and will only help the wealthy and leave the poor continuing to struggle to make ends meet. What Michigan needs is long term economic growth and that will only occur if we invest in our future.

William Crandell is a community activist and member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.