Last week, using the Twitter hashtag #23dollars, Michiganders Tweeted their ideas of what the average Michigan family wouldn’t be able to buy with the $23 election year tax gimmick originally proposed by Republicans in the state House.
The gimmick had a total cost of $90 million to Michigan taxpayers, and came in the same year when most taxpayers will see their taxes increase anyway, thanks to the additional $1.4 billion added to individual tax bills in last year’s budget. It also came just days before many Republicans will head up to Mackinac Island and have their ferry ride ($24), meals and drinks (?), and entrance to the Grand Hotel ($10) paid for by lobbyists and the Detroit Regional Chamber.
Apparently the paltry $23 wasn’t offensive enough to Michiganders, because Republicans cut that even further, to the point where it will mean a total of $15.86 to the average Michigan family next year and just $6.40 the year after that. This gimmick was nothing more than a cheap substitute at a time when our state desperately needs real leadership – and the simple fact is that there are many better ways this $90 million could have been spent.
- As noted by one of the tweets embedded below, it could have been used to offset the $1.4 billion that Lansing needs to find to fix Michigan’s roads.
- It could have been used to increase the standard $600 child deduction to $946 per child, after it was eliminated in last year’s budget.
- It could have been used to partially restore the Earned Income Tax Credit that was reduced in last year’s budget.
- It could have been to provide relief to seniors on a fixed income who never thought they would see their pensions unfairly taxed.
- It could have been invested in our schools, which saw a record funding cut in last year’s budget.
There are countless ways that Lansing Republicans could have invested $90 million more fairly and equitably, or in an effort to offset the painful cuts made last year in the name of “shared sacrifice.” Instead we get a cheap tax gimmick that provides millionaires like Gov. Rick Snyder with hundreds of dollars, while resulting in just a few cents a week for Michigan’s middle class families. This may help Republicans sleep better at night, but we aren’t going to stop asking why their priorities are so skewed in favor of the wealthy and corporations.
Note: we’ve compiled many great ideas of what Michigan families can’t buy with $23 below.