Michigan lawmakers urged to address infrastructure and education budget shortfalls

click to enlarge Michigan state legislators have been unwilling to make the tough choice to raise taxes to boost much-needed revenues. - ADOBE STOCK
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Michigan state legislators have been unwilling to make the tough choice to raise taxes to boost much-needed revenues.

As the Michigan Legislature continues to negotiate the state budget Thursday, lawmakers are being urged to address the need to create revenue to tackle shortfalls in areas such as infrastructure and education.

In fiscal year 2019, Michigan had less money coming into its coffers than it did 50 years ago, according to Gilda Jacobs, CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

"Beyond the general fund, inflation-adjusted school revenues are below 1995 levels," Jacobs says. "I mean, it's terrible. And honestly, the kids are suffering.

"Michigan ranks way at the bottom of other states in terms of how well kids are doing in this state."

Jacobs says one way to raise money is to pass a 45 cent tax on fuel, which Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed. But she adds that Republicans are against raising taxes in the state.

Whitmer's budget proposal also calls for doubling the state's current earned income tax credit in the upcoming budget.

Doing so would return more than $1 million to some Michigan counties, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Jacobs says her group was excited about the tax credit proposal because it will go a long way to help working families make ends meet.

"It's a really, really important work incentive that also provides great economic activity in their own communities and then helps get people caught up with their bills," she states.

Time is pressing on lawmakers who are facing a government shutdown unless a new budget is passed by Oct. 1, which is the beginning of the new fiscal year.

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