Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Middle-class families need a fairer tax system to get ahead

“My goal is to send my children to a good college, to sign them up for art classes and swimming if they want, to go for vacation once a year. Right now, I am unable to do that.”

Sevie Harleva provided the above quote in a recent Bridge article – “Michigan’s stumbling middle class.” It’s a statement that accurately reflects the current financial situations and dilemmas for thousands of families across Michigan.

Harleva, a nursing student who works full-time while raising three children with her husband, struggles to give her family a life that used to be the norm, partly because Michigan’s unfair tax system places a larger burden on working families, who can least afford it.

As the Bridge story pointed out, there’s no shortage to the challenges that working families in Michigan are facing. Our outdated tax system is in dire need of reform.

We are planning to introduce graduated income tax legislation soon that will reform our current, regressive tax system and help families like the Harlevas keep more of their earnings.

This legislation – mirroring a proposal that Rep. Jim Townsend has championed – would provide a tax break for 95 percent of Michigan families, and the state’s depleted coffers would not be negatively impacted because the wealthiest one percent would finally pay their fair share.

Our plan also would help secure the necessary revenue required to stop the funding cuts to our schools, universities and public safety. It will help make college affordable again, so our kids aren’t saddled with a mountain of debt upon graduation.

Michigan should join the 34 states that have already adopted modern tax systems and have been successfully using this approach, putting money back into the hands of citizens who need it most.

Small businesses in the state also stand to benefit from this tax cut. Studies have shown that the best way to stimulate economic growth and create jobs is to ensure middle class workers keep more of their wages, and our plan would do that.

More money in wallets means that families would be able to dine out at local restaurants, shop more at local stores, purchase a few extra school supplies, or even get the family car repaired.

Every day we hear from people who are frustrated with the inaction in Lansing on issues that matter most to them – roads, education and simply helping Michigan families make ends meet.

By offering solutions like this, as well as other breaks to make it easier to earn better wages and afford taking care of kids, we are always fighting for working families. We will tackle this reform head on because the Herlevas – and thousands of other families who find themselves in similar predicaments in this great state – deserve nothing less.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Ron French. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

We're not just a news organization, we're also your neighbors

We’ve been there for you with daily Michigan COVID-19 news; reporting on the emergence of the virus, daily numbers with our tracker and dashboard, exploding unemployment, and we finally were able to report on mass vaccine distribution. We report because the news impacts all of us. Will you please donate and help us reach our goal of 15,000 members in 2021?

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate Now