What We’re Against
No one would disagree that Michigan is at a crossroads. The problems are legion: struggling industries, urban blight, the nation’s highest unemployment rate … and the list goes on. The key question right now is, what do we do about it? How do we get the state back on track?
We know what we shouldn’t do. We shouldn’t continue the policies that have eroded Michigan’s international competiveness, caused many of our neighborhoods to be neglected and abandoned, and forced an exodus of the young and talented—the very people who can help Michigan rise again.
State officials have passed tax incentives that have routed jobs and industry away from Michigan’s core communities, ignoring existing infrastructures, services, and business networks. On average, the state of Michigan develops its land eight times faster than its population grows. We commend every effort to try to bring jobs to the state, but we oppose the lack of foresight as to where those jobs should be located. These policies have led to the deterioration of existing infrastructure, the depopulation of our cities, and an erosion of our state’s natural beauty.
Thanks to ill-advised tax credits and tax breaks, the state of Michigan discards more than $35 billion in revenue every year. What do the state’s citizens get in return? Not very much. Over the past decade Michigan has lost more than 1,700 law enforcement officers—while our legislature is forgoing $28 million a year in revenue by refusing to charge sales tax on candy in vending machines. These sorts of revenues could reverse the painful cuts in our police and fire services, the deterioration of our roads, and the elimination of important arts and cultural programs. Tell your legislators that tax credits and loopholes should only be put in place once their impact has been carefully evaluated.
We’re against the legislature’s misguided and outdated funding priorities. For instance, Michigan’s transportation dollars are distributed through Public Act 51, which is nearly 60 years old. This legislation disproportionately favors the building and maintenance of rural roads, rather than the urban roads that experience the most traffic. Demand that your public officials scrutinize how declining tax revenues can best support existing infrastructure and services.
Should we maintain the same policies and practices that got MIchigan to this point, or should we shape a course of innovation and redevelopment? That’s not a hard question to answer.
Won’t you help us shape the next Michigan?