Dem Leaders: Snyder’s Priorities Not the Michigan Way, Won’t Strengthen Economy

Slashing education, hiking taxes on middle-class families and seniors won’t create jobs
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LANSING — In advance of Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address this week, Democratic leaders in the State House and Senate barnstormed Michigan today to blast Gov. Snyder’s and legislative Republicans record of raising taxes on the middle class and seniors while slashing investments in education — all to pay for massive tax cuts for corporations. They were joined by seniors, middle class families and other victims of the Snyder agenda.

“Legislative Republicans have consistently given handouts to the wealthy and well-connected, while forcing middle-class families to pay the price,” said House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills). “The Republican budget mantra is to giveaway massive tax cuts to wealthy special interests, paid for by raising taxes on families and placing a new retirement tax on seniors living on a fixed income — that’s not the Michigan way. Middle-class families in Michigan work hard and play by the rules, and they need leaders in Lansing who will work to build an economy that works for everyone.”

In addition to raising taxes on families and forcing a new retirement tax on seniors, Lansing Republicans gave a two billion-dollar cut to education. Because of this disappointing agenda and failure to invest in Michigan’s people, Michigan’s unemployment rate is now third-worst in the country.

“It isn’t hard to see the damage caused by the Republican agenda in Michigan as we see countless families continue to struggle while our kids’ classrooms become more overcrowded and entire school districts are shut down for good,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing). “It’s time for the governor to stop paying lip service to the issues that matter most to the people of Michigan and start talking instead about a serious reinvestment in our schools, our students and our families.”

Republicans have opposed Democratic efforts to undo the retirement tax on seniors and legislation which would raise the minimum wage for Michigan workers. When asked if he would support giving Michigan families a raise by increasing the minimum wage, Snyder said that was not a “significant issue.” Even worse, Republicans have recently made claims that they have lowered taxes for families and increased funding for public schools, both of which are simply untrue and are little more than a shameless attempt to rewrite their own record on these issues.

“I worked my whole life and paid my taxes so I could have a secure retirement,” said Joeanne Peterson, a retired Art Teacher from Grand Rapids Central High School. “Never in a million years did I imagine that I would be hit with a massive retirement tax so corporations and CEOs could get a break. Gov. Snyder and Republicans in the legislature should be ashamed of themselves.”

FACTS ON THE RECORD OF SNYDER AND LANSING REPUBLICANS

  • Under Rick Snyder, Michigan’s unemployment is the third worst in the nation, and Michigan is 49th in job growth because he puts corporate interests ahead of Middle Class families.
  • Snyder balanced the budget on the backs of the middle class – taxing retirement income and eliminating tax credits that helped Michigan families and seniors to pay for tax cuts for corporations.
  • Snyder cut more than $2 billion in funding to K-12 public education — hurting our economy.
  • Snyder’s retirement tax cost many seniors $3,000 more per year, breaking a promise made to our seniors.
  • Snyder gave gigantic 80 percent and 90 percent raises and massive bonuses to his Wall Street investment executives, but opposes raising the minimum wage - calling a minimum wage increase “not a significant issue.”