As Americans, we all have a responsibility to pay our taxes because they help protect things our families need, like good schools, affordable health care, Social Security, and Medicare. But Michigan’s working families have been getting a raw deal on taxes for a long time under Gov. Rick Snyder, and now the Trump-Republican tax plan will make things even worse.
When Snyder took office in 2011, his first act was to give a $2 billion tax break to his wealthy corporate donors. Republicans paid for it by creating the Snyder Retirement Tax on seniors’ pensions, eliminating the child tax credit, and slashing the tax credit for working people with low incomes.
A few years later, Snyder and the Republicans in Lansing raised taxes again on working families when they passed a roads package that made it more expensive to own a car. They raised the gas tax, they raised vehicle registration fees, and they didn’t ask wealthy corporations to pay a penny more. The result? Michigan’s roads and bridges are still crumbling, and more dangerous than ever.
Now President Trump and Republicans in Washington are racing to approve a tax plan that would deliver a huge tax cut to wealthy corporations and the richest 1 percent.
To put it simply, the Trump-Republican tax plan will cut taxes for billionaires like Betsy DeVos, while raising taxes on regular working people like you and your family.
Here’s how it works. The Republican plan gives a $1 trillion tax cut to wealthy corporations and business owners — twice as much as it gives to individual taxpayers. It creates a special low tax rate for lobbyists, corporate lawyers, and other wealthy business owners, while excluding people who work for a salary or hourly wage from this new rate.
Even worse, the Trump-Republican plan slashes taxes on profits that wealthy corporations earn offshore, while taxing profits earned here in America at a much higher rate. That means the plan actually rewards companies for sending even more American jobs, factories, and profits overseas.
But it doesn’t end there. The Republican plan also cuts Medicare by $500 billion and slashes Medicaid by $1 trillion. These are deep and painful cuts that will be absolutely devastating to Michigan seniors and working families who rely on Medicare and Medicaid to live healthy, productive lives.
Worst of all, this scam of a tax plan is being supported by Michigan Republicans like Bill Schuette, Mike Bishop, Fred Upton, Tim Walberg, Dave Trott, and Jack Bergman. By supporting the Trump-Republican tax plan, these elected officials have made it crystal clear that they care more about cutting taxes for their wealthy corporate donors than helping Michigan families.
Working people in Michigan need a better deal on taxes, but make no mistake, the Trump-Republican tax plan represents the same old “trickle down” economics that has been tried and failed for decades.
It makes no sense whatsoever to give a massive tax break to big corporations when they are already making record profits, but paying record low taxes because of loopholes. Lowering taxes on corporations will just benefit CEOs and wealthy shareholders, not regular working people here in Michigan.
Betsy DeVos doesn’t need a tax break, it’s as simple as that. Congress should do what’s best for Michigan’s working families and throw the Trump-Republican tax plan right into the trash can.
Ron Bieber is president of the Michigan AFL-CIO.
Labor Voices columns are written on a rotating basis by United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams, Teamsters President James Hoffa, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber and Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart.