While MEA is glad to see lawmakers included a “hold harmless” provision for the School Aid Fund in proposed income tax rollback legislation HB 4001, that doesn’t solve the long-term problems caused by eliminating a major revenue stream for our state to provide essential services to its citizens.
Police and fire. Children’s health care. Safe roads and water. These are all things that the state needs to pay for to ensure students – and everyone who calls Michigan home – have the quality of life we need to have a thriving state. Incrementally rolling back the income tax over the next four decades creates a 40-year path to the bottom of a very deep budget hole.
Both community colleges and universities would likely see funding cuts due to an income tax phase out. And eventually, the lack of state revenue would cause cuts to K-12 schools when the money simply isn’t there anymore to hold them harmless.
That’s why MEA is joining many other groups in asking our members to call and email state representatives and ask them to vote NO on HB 4001 . Leaders in the House are pushing for a vote quickly on this legislation, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
Voters deserve to know now from lawmakers what they intend to cut in order to balance the budget – not a reverse IOU where a small tax cut costs middle class and working families the public services they need to keep their families safe, healthy, educated and happy.
Just look at what happened in Kansas when Republicans there pushed through a similar income tax cut, with the same promises that reducing taxes would stimulate economic growth and spur job creation. Crain’s Detroit Business laid out the catastrophic results in a recent article:
“From the end of 2012 to early 2016, Kansas’ GDP grew at less than half the national rate. Cuts in state revenue forced K-12 schools to close early and led to funding reductions for universities. To balance the budget, [Kansas Gov. Sam] Brownback siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from state highway funds. Moody’s twice downgraded the state’s bond rating. As of November, Kansas was still laboring to close a $345 million budget hole.”
Please take a few minutes today to contact your state representatives and urge them to vote NO on HB 4001.