Brinks, Dillon and Lamonte Introduce Plan for Middle-Class Tax Relief

Legislators call for action as Michiganders struggle with new tax laws
Monday, April 15, 2013
tate Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) describes tax increases Republicans have levied on Michigan’s middle-class families over the past two years at a press conference held at the main branch of the U.S. Postal Service in Grand Rapids on Monday, April 15, 2013. He was joined by, from left, Linda Teeter of Michigan Citizen Action, Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and Rep. Collene Lamonte (D-Montague).

GRAND RAPIDS — State Representatives Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) and Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) today announced the House Democrats’ plan for middle-class tax relief. The bills, based on Michigan’s Middle Class Plan, are focused on restoring tax credits and deductions to middle-class families and repealing taxes on retirees. Legislation included in the plan will relieve the tax burden on Michigan families when next year’s tax season rolls around.

“Tax day is always stressful, but this year is more stressful than most. That’s because tax increases Republicans put in effect over the past two years are being noticed for the first time,” Brinks said. “Credits and deductions families relied upon, such as the Homestead Property Tax Credit and $600 per-child deduction, are reduced or gone completely. Seniors pay a new tax on retirement income. Many families and seniors who used to receive refunds now receive none, and many taxpayers are finding that they now owe taxes because of what Republicans did.”

Last session, the Republican-led Legislature made severe changes to the Michigan tax code punishing middle-class families and seniors, including imposing a tax on retirement income, eliminating the Homestead Property Tax Credit for many families, a drastic cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the elimination of the $600 per-child tax deduction and tax credits for charitable donations. These changes were made to fund nearly $2 billion in tax breaks for big corporations, effectively making Michigan’s low-income and middle-class families pay for a handout to big corporations. The new taxes took effect in 2012, and many taxpayers became aware of them for the first time as they filed their state income taxes this year.

“When I talk with citizens, they tell me they weren’t expecting to see taxes increase like they did this year,” Dillon said. “People feel betrayed. They’re paying more in taxes and getting little for it â school funding has been slashed by almost $2 billion, and funding for local police and fire departments has been devastated. People are clamoring for leaders to share their priorities, and we’ve heard them.”

Over the past two months, Democratic state representatives heard the concerns of struggling Michiganders during their Real State of Our State Listening Tour. After the tour’s completion, legislators used this feedback to construct Michigan’s Middle Class Plan, including the following tax initiatives:

  • Repeal the new tax on senior retirement income
  • Require employers to inform employees about the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Restore the Earned Income Tax Credit to 11 percent in the first year
  • Restore the Homestead Property Tax Credit
  • Restore the child deduction

Along with these initiatives, the House Democrats pledge to continue fighting against tax increases on the middle class and seniors every time a new, harmful tax is introduced to the Legislature, and to keep Michigan taxpayers aware of the changes through a series of town halls held across the state.

“Constituents calling my office are outraged; real people are experiencing real financial problems,” Lamonte said. “Common sense tells you that it was just plain wrong for the Republicans in Lansing to raise taxes on the elderly and families the way they did. I have listened to my constituents. I will fight for them to end these irresponsible tax increases now.”