Key Issues and Bills
Limit Access to Educational Choice
If adopted, HJR B would place before voters in the next general election a constitutional amendment to prohibit a charter school board from contracting with a for-profit education management company to provide staff and comprehensive educational, administrative, management or instructional services. In the real world, this means more limited access to educational choice for students and families, including in areas where our public schools are failing our kids.
OPPOSE. This constitutional amendment is being driven by teacher unions and others who feel threatened by their increasingly successful education rivals. The sad reality is that, by and large, the education sector is failing in its responsibility to give young people the skills they need to do the jobs that are available today and will be available in the future. Yet charter schools are emerging in many areas a bright spot in public education. This is because many charter schools, while public, are freed from some of the bureaucratic restraints other public schools face. They have independent boards and take pride in getting parents involved in school. Charter schools are also innovative, sometimes completely rethinking the way students and teachers teach and learn. Many charter schools offer STEM-based or other specialized curricula, as well as specialty programs such as language immersion, project-based learning, and environmental and agricultural studies. Some schools benchmark all of their students against international education standards to ensure that they can compete in the global workforce. We believe this focus on student success and achievement is something to run towards, not away from.
Introduced in the House and referred to the Committee on Education.
Repeal Right-to-Work Law
Repeals Michigan’s 2012 Right-to-Work law which ensures workplace fairness and equality by giving every employee the ability to decide for themselves if joining or financially supporting a union is the right choice for them.
OPPOSE. Michigan's Right-to-Work law is good public policy that protects all employees from being forced to join a union and pay dues against their will. It does not prohibit a union's right to exist or prevent collective bargaining.
Introduced in the House and referred to the Committee on Government Operations.
Reform Auto Insurance System to Bring Down Premiums
Works to begin reducing the primary cost-drivers of the current no-fault automobile insurance system, including Michigan's unlimited Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits; the lack of a reasonable fee schedule to adequately reimburse providers for medical services and stop excessive charges and cost-shifting; overutilization; and fraud.
SUPPORT. Bold action is needed to drive down Michigan's exorbitant auto insurance rates and we support the intent of the legislation.Michigan businesses, families and individuals need lawmakers to act to reduce Michigan's highest-in-the-nation auto insurance premiums. Michigan drivers pay auto insurance rates that are, on average, 83 percent higher than the national average. This issue is hurting Michigan’s economic competitiveness and needs to be addressed.
Introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Insurance and Banking.
Adopt a Graduated Income Tax Rate
Michigan currently has a single, flat income tax rate of 4.25%. Adopting a graduated rate would create several different income tax rates. As individuals earn more, their tax rate would go up. In Michigan, many businesses do not pay a specific business tax but pay tax on business profits through the owner’s individual income tax. A graduated income tax would hit these businesses and their owners especially hard. While specific rates are not outlined in this proposal, past proposals have seen rates as high as 10% - more than double the current income tax rate.
OPPOSE. The Michigan Chamber opposes creating an income tax that punishes success. Michigan’s current flat tax structure taxes everyone’s income the same. Creating several different rates according to income is an obvious mechanism to redistribute wealth. In addition to punishing success, a graduated income tax diminishes the entrepreneurial incentive to be bold and pursue one’s ambitious goals.
Introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Manipulate Property Tax Assessments
In an effort to increase taxes, local governments across Michigan are urging the Legislature to legitimize recent attempts by assessors to artificially increase property assessments. Instead of going through the normal process for a tax increase, which requires a vote of the people, local governments have been inflating the value of property to yield higher property tax assessments. After losing in the courts for this practice, local governments are attempting to amend the Tax Tribunal Act to force judges to rule in their favor instead of the taxpayer's. The overassessments have primarily been seen with large retail property; however, this practice could snowball to include all property.
OPPOSE. Taxpayers have a fundamental right to appeal their property taxes in a fair court. Legislation to manipulate the Tax Tribunal to yield more favorable decisions for local governments is wrong and tips the scales against taxpayers. Allowing property tax assessments to go unchecked will give tax collectors unfettered ability to increase taxes on everyone. The Michigan Chamber opposes efforts to restrict a taxpayers right to a fair property tax appeal.
HBs 4025 and 4047 introduced in the House and referred to the Local Government Committee. SBs 26 and 39 introduced in the Senate and referred to the Finance Committee.
- Tax Trends: Invalid "dark box" property tax claims misinform
- Bloomberg News: The Dark Store Theory and Other Lies the Government Told
- Real Estate Issues: Valuation of Big-Box Retail for Assessment Purposes: Right Answer to the Wrong Question
- Background and Major Points on Real Property Tax Valuation of Retail Operations
Expanding Allowable Use of School Sinking Fund Millages
School sinking fund millages were created as a financial tool to finance large capital improvements to school buildings and property. By levying a local sinking fund millage, districts could collect revenue and save it for needed improvements as opposed to taking out debt. For large, real property improvements, this makes financial sense. Over time, however, this local taxing option has moved beyond its intended purpose, increasing the number of sinking fund millages across Michigan dramatically. School districts have found the sinking fund millage as a work around to increase local property taxes while also getting their share of state tax dollars. HB 4075 expands the allowable use of sinking fund millages to pay for school busses and would undoubtedly lead to higher property taxes.
OPPOSE. Local school districts will always be looking to raise more revenues and no amount of taxpayer dollars will ever satisfy them.Continuing to allow districts to levy more and more local property tax millages is an end run around the school funding reform passed by the voters in 1994. If allowed to continue, taxpayers will once again be taxed out of their property as was the case post 1994.
Introduced in the House and referred to the Tax Policy Committee.