Karen Turnbull: The big tax shift and how it works for the community

To the editor: It was a significant loss for students of the Chippewa Hills School District when the Board of Education recently cut its premier orchestra program. I also mourned the cutting of the Mecosta-Osceola Math-Science Program, which was a benefit to hundreds of high school seniors in our community. Graduates of this program were accepted into top-notch universities, and have moved into successful careers. My son benefited from both of these programs. The major reason for these cuts in education is the “big tax shift.” The “big tax shift” happened last year when Governor Snyder’s budget was passed by the Republican controlled Legislature. This budget gives big corporations in Michigan a $1.8 billion dollar tax cut, and this year another $1.2 billion cut. To pay for this tax savings for corporations K-12 education was cut by $1 billion, a new tax was levied on pensions and retirement income, higher education was cut by $220 million, and the “earned income tax credit” for low income workers was slashed. I am paying more Michigan taxes than ever before. I wouldn’t mind, as much, if I knew this “big shift” in tax structure made economic sense. It doesn’t. Haven’t we learned that “trickle down” economics doesn’t work? The State has reduced by $3 billion the taxes of big business and huge corporations who are currently experiencing record profits, and hold more money in their cash accounts than ever before in history. No “contingencies” were put on these business tax breaks to keep jobs in Michigan or to create new jobs, or keep money in our local communities. How is this working for our community? Quality programs are being cut in our local schools. Working low-income families and retirees have less money to support the local economy. People are losing good jobs and are being replaced with low paying (non-union) jobs without benefits. It is ironic that big companies research the quality of schools and community before deciding to re-locate. Our current Republican representative in the 102nd District, Phil Potvin, voted FOR this “big tax shift” and has consistently voted against education, working families, and retirees. The only way to change this tide is by electing a representative in Lansing that will make choices that make sense for the people of this district. That is why I am supporting Brendan Maturen, who is running for State Representative in the 102nd District. He is a person who will stand up for local schools and local businesses. We need a more balanced and a less extremist approach in Lansing.

Karen Turnbull Barryton