Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Growing Michigan Together Council” has become the “Growing Michigan Taxes Council.” According to a media report, it plans to recommend tax hikes on Michigan families in what’s very clearly a self-defeating attempt to woo more families and job creators to the state.
Kudos to Bridge Michigan for its diligent reporting. After it filed a Freedom of Information Act request, the council made the requested information public. The documents showed that council work groups are recommending tax hikes to fund “schools, roads, and local governments.” It says something that the council wasn’t transparent from the start. It looks like Gov. Whitmer wanted to hide tax hikes from the public.
Will forcing Michigan families to fork over more of their hard-earned tax dollars cause others to move here? Of course not. It’s more likely to do the opposite, driving families to leave in search of affordability and freedom. For that matter, the council’s plans to spend more money on the state’s problems won’t work.
Take schools. We’ve seen time and time again that increasing funding for K-12 education doesn’t lead to better educational outcomes. Michigan students are still falling behind. Families need accountability and choice. They don’t need to throw good money after bad.
The council also wants local governments to be able to increase property taxes even faster while spending more money on infrastructure, especially roads. Michigan families already pay enough for these things. The state should spend money smarter and reprioritize taxpayer dollars before demanding more from families.
Michigan already ranks 50th among the states for population growth, growing by a mere 1% between 2000 and 2020. And in the last three years, we’ve lost more than 43,000 residents. Tax hikes will drive even more away, especially as other states are cutting taxes.
In September, the West Michigan Policy Forum recommended nine policy initiatives to the council to help reverse Michigan’s population loss. The proposals included eliminating Michigan’s personal income tax, removing barriers to job growth instead of offering incentive packages, and resisting the temptation to raise taxes on Michigan workers, residents and job providers. Unfortunately, when it comes to raising taxes, it appears it was a temptation too difficult to resist for the council.
Instead of raising taxes, lawmakers should consider cutting taxes while making it easier to live, work, and raise a family here.
The Great Lakes Growth Coalition deserves the support of everyone in the state. Please tell your state representatives and senators: We don’t need to worsen Michigan’s problems with tax hikes. We need to solve those problems with pro-growth reforms.