As many rushed to the mailboxes on April 15 to file federal and state income taxes, it's important to put the t-word in perspective. Taxes have been cut dramatically both nationally and in Michigan.
Here's our take:
•All Americans pay taxes, not just half. (See report from Citizens for Tax Justice at www.ctj.org)
•Federal income taxes on middle-income families are at historic lows, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
•Michigan is not a high-tax state. It ranks no. 30 in the country for state & local total tax burden, according to 2009 SFA report. That means 29 other states had higher state and local tax burdens than Michigan.
•Nearly all (99 percent) of Michigan's working families and individuals received tax cuts under President Obama's Recovery Act (See CTJ's fact sheet.)
•State and federal income taxes have been cut dramatically—Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Obama tax cuts for low- and middle-income taxpayers and state tax cuts throughout the 1990s. Michigan's income tax is 4.35 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
•In Michigan, low- and middle-income people still pay disproportionate share, but that has lessened with the state Earned Income Tax Credit.
•In Michigan households earning the lowest 20 percent of income paid 8.9 percent of income in state and local taxes, but the top 1 percent paid 5.3 percent, according to Who Pays? by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy.
Taxes pay for numerous vital services. See our paper Public Services in Lives of Everyday Citizens at www.milhs.org.