"Many of these tax changes that people are seeing for the first time are hurting our senior citizens," said Dianda. "Here in the U.P. that is devastating. We have a lot of elderly folks in our district -- more than anywhere else in the state -- and they can't just go out and find another job to keep the heat on because Gov. Snyder changed the rules after they retired."
Last session, the Republican-led Legislature made severe changes to the Michigan tax code that punished middle-class families and seniors. Changes included imposing a tax on retirement income, eliminating the Homestead Property Tax Credit for many families, making a drastic cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit and eliminating the $600 per-child tax deduction and tax credits for charitable donations. These changes were made to fund nearly $2 billion in tax breaks for big corporations, effectively making Michigan's low-income and middle-class families pay for a handout to big corporations.
The new taxes took effect in 2012, and many taxpayers became aware of them for the first time as they filed their state income taxes this year.
"Some families are getting a much smaller refund, some aren't getting one at all and some taxpayers have to write a check to the state for the first time. That's a new appliance or a new car for some folks. Families wait on that money all year to make ends meet," continued Dianda.
Since he took office in January, Rep. Dianda has been listening to the concerns of constituents who are struggling under the new tax rules. In response, Dianda is advocating a comprehensive middle class tax relief plan that includes the following:
- Repeal the new tax on senior retirement income
- Require employers to inform employees about the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Restore the Earned Income Tax Credit to 11 percent in the first year
- Restore the Homestead Property Tax Credit
- Restore the child deduction
"Tax changes that help the middle class and working people would be beneficial to my neighbors up here. If the economy is going to recover in the Upper Peninsula, people need to have money in their pockets to spend at local businesses -- not be giving it all to the state," said Dianda.
Editor's Note: See also U.S. Sen. Carl Levin's comments posted today in USA Today, "Levin: Corporations should pay fair share."