Be Careful With Tax Cuts

Editorial by Joseph Ferguson, President, Michigan Primary Care Association Board of Directors

The news from Michigan’s Revenue Estimating Conference held January 10, 2014, is good for Michigan. Michiganders have lived through tough times over the last several years, enduring cuts to education, public health, infrastructure, and services that target the poorest residents.  More than 1 in 4 Michigan children are living in poverty today. The expectation that unemployment rates will continue to decrease and the state’s economy will continue to improve is extremely positive.  Unfortunately, within hours of this news, some politicians began to talk about tax cuts.

We frequently hear that government should act more like business in its financial decision making. When private industries have profitable years they don’t pass all the earnings onto shareholders. Instead, they strategically invest in the company’s future.

Michigan state government is OUR business.  It is the mechanism for providing goods and services we all agree are needed to benefit the PUBLIC GOOD. We depend on our government to protect our land and water, provide roads for transportation, maintain natural resources for us to enjoy, assure our food is safe, and help educate our children and workforce.

With the projected budget surplus, it is natural to want some of our tax money back. I argue, however, now is the perfect time to invest in the future without the need to raise taxes.  Please tell our elected officials they should invest the average amount that each family in Michigan might receive from the surplus (roughly $85 per family) rather than offer a rebate.  THAT MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE!

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