State Rep. Winnie Brinks Responds to State of the State Address

Rep. Brinks pledges to put middle class tax relief, jobs, education first
Thursday, January 16, 2014

LANSING - State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) said today that Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative Republicans’ annual State of the State address only promises more of the same failed policies that have yet to create jobs for Michigan families or deliver the best possible education to our students.

“The hard-working men and women of Michigan have been asked to make shared sacrifices during the past three years, and it’s time for them to get some relief,” Brinks said. “But instead of reversing those policies, we’re told to expect more of the same. We should be talking about how to bring tax relief to middle-class families and seniors and how to improve our schools - and those are the policies that I’m working to enact.”

This year’s State of the State address makes it clear that Republicans are doubling down on policies that have raised taxes on middle-class families, ravaged public schools and undermined our economic security. This year:

  • Families face smaller tax refunds, or no refunds at all, because of the loss of tax credits and deductions including the child tax deduction and a severely reduced Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Seniors living on fixed incomes will continue struggling because of the retirement tax.
  • Families will continue searching for educational options because of the Republican plan to continue dissolving school districts and taking over struggling schools through the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), which has yet to show any improvement in the schools it runs.
  • Women face greater economic struggles thanks to Republican approval of a new law making basic health care more costly.
  • Republicans continue to push gimmicks to address education including cyber schools and other entities that lack accountability and have yet to show any improvements.

“The middle-class families and seniors whose higher taxes went to pay for corporate tax breaks need relief,” Brinks said. “That’s why the Democrats have introduced proposals, including my bill to restore the $600 per-child tax deduction, that will make a real difference. Michiganders want leaders in Lansing who will act on their behalf, not on behalf of major corporations.”

House Democrats will fight to make sure that the budget surplus, fixed at $971 million by state officials at their Jan. 10 revenue estimating conference, is invested in local schools, which have struggled under Republican education cuts, and for long-term tax relief for middle-class families and seniors who have shouldered the burden of corporate tax cuts for the past three years.

“The state surplus should be returned to taxpayers in the form of programs that benefit Michigan families, such as the early childhood program in the Grand Rapids Public Schools that Gov. Snyder praised in his speech,” Brinks said. “We need more investment in pre-Kindergarten education, so that our kids get a head start on a good future.”