State corporate welfare policy cuts worker wages

HOUGHTON – Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed, while speaking to the Houghton County Democrats on Monday, criticized Gov. Rick Snyder’s attempts at using huge tax breaks to lure corporations to Michigan, while college students and graduates are leaving the state in alarming numbers.

These corporations, El-Sayed contended in a Tuesday story in the Daily Mining Gazette, “are trying to automate their labor force out anyway, and they’re only coming because we’re giving them such dirt cheap tax rates that they don’t end up paying anything to the economy anyway.”

According to studies, El-Sayed’s assertions are accurate.

Lou Glazer, president and co-founder of Michigan Future, wrote in a March 8 posting on its website, “Michigan College attainment drives state per capita income,” and in the past 24 years, the state’s theory of lower taxes has not resulted in increased wealth.

“In 1993 Michigan taxes (state and local combined) per capita were 3 percent above the national average and the state’s per capita income was 3 percent below the national average,” Glazer wrote. “In 2004 the state’s taxes per capita had fallen below the national average by 3 percent, but we had fallen even further behind the nation in per capita income, trailing the nation by 6 percent.”

And in 2013, (the last year for which tax data is available), Glazer continued, the state was 12 percent below the national average in taxes per capita and 12 percent below the national average in per capita income.

Glazer referred to the Michigan Association of United Ways ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained, employed) report, which “makes clear that Michigan is facing severe structural economic challenges. In the seventh year of a national economic expansion — and an even stronger rebound from near bankruptcy of the domestic auto industry — too many Michigan households are struggling.”

Further studies have revealed that, as El-Sayed had asserted, college grads are leaving Michigan because wages are too low.