Over the last decade, Michigan policymakers have addressed the state’s economic and fiscal problems largely through a combination of budget cuts, tax shifts and reliance on one-time revenues–under the mistaken assumption that the state could cut its way to prosperity, and create jobs and economic growth through reduced business taxes. In fact, the path to economic prosperity requires a broader investment strategy, starting with the following 10 steps:
1. Increase investments in early childhood education and care—beginning prenatally through school entry.
2. Ensure that all children have access to a high-quality public education and receive a high school diploma.
3. Make higher education an option for more residents.
4. Provide access to the health and mental health services needed for healthy children, families and workers.
5. Provide basic economic security for those who cannot work or find jobs.
6. Invest in the community services needed to attract and retain business investments and young professionals.
7. Strengthen the personal income tax to ensure it generates sufficient revenue and is based on the ability to pay.
8. Make sure businesses are paying their share of taxes for the public services they rely on.
9. Modernize the sales tax by expanding it to selected services and internet sales.
10. Annually scrutinize all forms of spending, including tax expenditures or breaks, and reinvest funds into services and infrastructure that have been shown to create economic growth.