One of Rick Snyder’s first acts as governor was to sign a major overhaul of Michigan tax law, hitting individual taxpayers with $1.4 billion in new taxes. At the same time, Snyder delivered $1.8 billion in tax breaks to rich CEOs and wealthy corporations – even those that ship our jobs overseas.
Michigan’s working families have been hit with a new tax on pensions, cuts in the Earned Income Tax Credit, and an increase in the state’s overall income tax.
Because of Snyder’s record of tax increases on the middle class, it was especially outrageous when news broke in August that one of his top aides, Richard Baird, had received an illegal tax break for three years running on his $500,000 home in Bath Township, outside of Lansing.
Baird, who knows Snyder from their years together at accounting powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers, also lives in Illinois. Both of his homes were claimed as his “principal” residence, so he got a homeowners’ tax break in both states, which is not permitted.
After the story broke, Baird hurried to fix the problem by paying $16,700 in back taxes to Bath Township. But when Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift wrote about Snyder’s tax hikes and his top aide’s improper tax breaks in an opinion column in the Detroit Free Press, Baird went ballistic.
He responded with an angry message on Pres. Swift’s voice mail, threatening to sue and stating he is “sick and tired of you people.” On Sept. 4 and on Sept. 6, Baird wrote to Swift and to the Detroit Free Press, the Lansing State Journal, and Gannett Co., demanding a retraction.
Pres. Swift answered Snyder’s top aide on Sept. 8., stating she has “no intention” of retracting her opinion column.
“Rick Snyder, as you know, raised taxes on every working person in Michigan, by increasing the state income tax,” Swift wrote. “He also imposed extra burdens on retirees with a new pension tax, and on working families by reducing the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
“Rich, you’re entitled to your own opinion on these issues. You’re not entitled to my opinion. My opinion is that officials of an administration that has raised taxes on so many Michigan working families should pay their own taxes, in full and on time.”
Despite threats from one of Snyder’s closest aides, Pres. Swift and the men and women of the Michigan AFL-CIO will continue to speak out on issues that affect working families.
Baird’s Sept. 4 letter to Karla Swift and the Detroit Free Press is here.
Baird’s Sept. 6 letter to Karla Swift and the Lansing State Journal and Gannett and Co. is here.
Karla Swift’s response is here.
News from theMetro Detroit AFL-CIO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 27, 2014
Contact: Roger Kerson, firstname.lastname@example.org 734.645.0535
Vice President Joe Biden to Deliver Remarks at Detroit Labor Day Celebration Monday, Sept. 1st
DETROIT – Vice President Joe Biden will visit Detroit to deliver kickoff remarks at the city’s Labor Day parade gathering on September 1st. The annual event, which attracts participants from across southeastern Michigan, celebrates the achievements of Michigan’s working men and women and our unions.
USW Women of Steel Lobby Day
Women of Steel engage legislators to discuss road funding in Michigan.
On May 20, 2014 women from the United Steel Workers Union assembled in Lansing to meet with legislators
Women of Steel
to discuss road funding in Michigan. The day began with an informative training to prepare the women to speak with elected officials. The group of about ten steel workers were greeted by State Representative Dian Slavens where she informed them of how imperative it is to fix the roads in Michigan.
“I want make sure we’re investing in our roads. So many folks are losing tires and having to pay a lot more on their cars,” Slavens said. “In addition, the safety issue is huge with the number of accidents due to these potholes. So we need to make sure that we’re investing in our roads, that $1.8 billion per year, and not just putting a band-aid on the problem.”
Later in the day the activist headed over to the state capital building to sit down with their state representatives. The Steel Workers wanted to let the representatives to know that road funding needs to be a priority.
“I’m here today to talk to our representatives about our infrastructure and fixing our roads. The roads are really bad where I live,” said Jackie Anklam of USW Local 9899. “There are roads blocked off because you can’t get through them, bridges being shut down, and people have to re-route to get to work meaning it takes longer to get to work. So we’re here today hoping they’ll listen to us, and pass the funding to get our roads fixed and put our people back to work,” Anklam added.
Through the course of the visit the women of steel got an opportunity to speak with legislators including:
- Rep. Joel Johnson
- Rep. Sarah Roberts
- Rep. Ben Glardon
- Sen. Vincent Gregory
- Sen. Steve Bieda
- Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes
- Sen. Roger Kahn
- Sen. Mike Green
- Rep. Charles Brunner
- Rep. Jim Stamas
We would like to thank the SteelWorkers and the members that participated in today’s lobby day.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristopher Banks
Michigan AFL-CIO Statement on Senate Passage of Minimum Wage Bill
Working families applaud the bi-partisan support for fair wages despite Gov. Snyder’s indifference.