Schools moving away from standardized tests and online learning

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off


Summit charter schools in California and Washington state are often included on the list of charter networks that are getting big urban student achievement gains. A common characteristic of these networks is their commitment that their students will graduate from college.

Another increasingly common characteristic is because they are committed to college success––not just enrollment––they are moving away from a focus on standardized tests. And in Summit’s case away from student’s learning primarily online. Both, of course, are the exact opposite of what too many policymakers are pushing here and around the country.

What Summit has found is that the skills students need to succeed in college are far broader than what is on the test and that many of those skills cannot be learned by students sitting in front of a computer. Two Hechinger Report articles explore how and why Summit has changed its approach to teaching and learning.

The first starts with:

Almost five years ago, Summit Public Schools decided that scoring high on standardized tests wasn’t enough to ensure success after high school. … The report comes a few years after the celebrated schools began work to reinvent themselves. Summit students had scored high on standardized tests of math and English, earning the school a national reputation for success with students who typically didn’t fare well. And almost all Summit graduates enrolled in college. But then the school’s leaders discovered that about half of those students were dropping out of college. They decided to do something about it.

What Summit moved to is laid out in a report entitled the Science of Summit. It details an approach to teaching and learning designed to build skills in four broad areas:

  • Cognitive Skills equip students with interdisciplinary 21st century competencies to navigate college and careers
  • Students must acquire and retain key Content Knowledge to support the development of Cognitive Skills
  • To succeed, students need Habits of Success — a set of skills, mindsets, dispositions and behaviors
  • Students who cultivate a Sense of Purpose are more likely to succeed in meeting their short- and long-term goals

So yes content knowledge––what standardized tests are attempting to measure––matters. But so do these other skill sets. The lesson from Summit and many other schools is that the almost exclusive focus on test results as the accountability measure for schools is not preparing college ready students.

The second Hechinger Report article is entitled Despite its high-tech profile, Summit charter network makes teachers, not computers, the heart of personalized learning. The subtitle is A surprise inside a school championed for its use of technology: Teachers are the stars. Long title, but it makes the point. Substituting computers for teachers is not good for students.

The reason from moving away from software-driven teaching and learning is the same reason they moved away from focusing on good test scores. The students weren’t developing the broad skills they needed to succeed in college. Online learning might––not for sure––be good at developing content knowledge and maybe some broader cognitive skills, but not habits of success or sense of purpose.

There are two broad lessons to be learned from Summit. The first is the most reliable way to get substantial gains in student outcomes is district or charter network management committed to student success after they graduate. And particularly a commitment to earning a college degree. That is what is driving schools away from an emphasis on the test and an over reliance on online learning.

The second lesson is look to how affluent parents are educating their own children, not what they are recommending for educating others’ children. Affluent parents overwhelmingly are sending their kids to schools that build broad skills, rather than narrow content skills that are on the tests, and to schools that are teacher centered not online-learning centered.

We need all Michigan kids––not just kids with affluent parents––attending schools that are designed to build broad 21st Century skills, from birth through college.

The post Schools moving away from standardized tests and online learning appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Education for a forty-year career

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

The centerpiece of our education policy agenda is that our education system should prepare students not for a first job, but for a forty-year career. The dominant narrative today seems to be the opposite – that we need to tie education far more with immediate workforce needs, preparing more young people for occupations like welders and coders.

A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt wrote about research that looks at the tradeoffs between the two approaches.

The research, by Stanford’s Eric Hanushek as well as economists from Germany and China, looks at employment outcomes for those completing general versus vocational education tracks in a range of countries, across the span of their entire careers.

Their findings are pretty important.

The researchers found that those who followed a vocational or apprenticeship pathway had better early employment outcomes than comparable individuals who completed a general education pathway, particularly in countries like Germany and Switzerland, in which apprenticeship programs are plentiful and tied closely with industry needs. The vocational education system is set up to serve the immediate needs of employers, and vocational pathways do indeed seem to lead to immediate employment and better paying work.

However, as workers progress through their careers, the benefits of general education win out. Throughout their careers, workers with a general education – and the stronger cognitive skills that come with more time spent in general education – are more likely to be employed, at higher pay. And one of the reasons is that those with a general education and a stronger set of cognitive skills are better able to adjust to technological change and continue their education, when yesterday’s in-demand jobs become today’s non-existent jobs.

These findings match the current data we have about the U.S. labor market, and how it’s been impacted by technological change. Jobs requiring a more general set of cognitive skills, often defined as those requiring a four-year college degree, have been responsible for the vast majority of good-paying new jobs over the past decade. Meanwhile, what we generally think of as trade-specific occupations (mostly in manufacturing and construction) have been in decline.

The research also found that the long-term benefits of more general education were strongest in countries where apprenticeship is the dominant form of training, and required for entry into many professions. In other words, in countries with very prescribed training pathways tied to narrow occupations, the negative long-term impacts of over-specialization are starker.

This is a lesson we should take to heart as politicians talk of replicating the German or Swiss apprenticeship model here in the United States. Instead, as Hanushek notes in the paper, we should be worried about providing all students with a strong general education, equipping them with the cognitive (and we would add non-cognitive) skills that will enable them to adapt to an ever-changing labor market.

This research also feels particularly resonant in our current political climate. Over the past couple decades, a significant segment of the population has seen their jobs either disappear or become less secure, and they’ve been unable to pivot to new occupations or industries. This is a group that was perhaps not equipped with the type of strong general education that would allow them to adjust to a changing world, and they instead voted en masse for a presidential candidate who promised to bring their old jobs back, however impossible that might be.

As Hanushek writes in the paper, “The United States…has largely eliminated vocational education as a separate track in secondary schools on the argument that specific skills become obsolete too quickly and that it is necessary to give people the ability to adapt to new technologies.” His research demonstrates that this is the right approach, and that U.S. schools should focus on fulfilling that promise of giving students an education that will prepare them not for a first job, but for a forty-year career.




The post Education for a forty-year career appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Low unemployment doesn’t mean a prosperous Michigan

August 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

The most important recommendation in our new state policy agenda is that we change the mission of state economic policy to a rising household income for all. A Michigan with a broad middle class where wages and benefits allows one to pay the bills, save for retirement and the kids’ education and pass on a better opportunity to the next generation.

It should now be clear that having a growing economy, or a low unemployment rate, or being business friendly does not lead to an economy that benefits all. All have been the goals of state policymakers now and in the past and all have been progressing in Michigan since the end of the Great Recession.

But Michigan, for the first time ever is a low-prosperity state with a strong domestic auto industry. Forty percent of households across the state unable to pay for necessities. This despite the headline grabbing statistic that the state’s unemployment rate is as low as it has been since the tech boom/bubble in 2000.

Why the disconnect? First too many of the new jobs are low paid and/or part time. City Lab in an article entitled Restaurant Jobs Are the New Factory Jobs notes that:

Restaurant jobs have grown faster than the overall economy every month since August 2010. (That’s more than 200 consecutive months!) … The trend is speeding up, but it’s not clear that we should cheer it—or whether it’s sustainable. Jobs are jobs, but these ones don’t pay very well. The typical private-sector job pays about $22 an hour. The typical restaurant job pays about $12.50.

And most of these new restaurant jobs are part time without benefits as well.

Second as David Leonhardt details in a column entitled Our Broken Economy in One Simple Chart all the income gains are now concentrated with those at the very top. He writes:

In recent decades, by contrast, only very affluent families — those in roughly the top 1/40th of the income distribution — have received such large raises. Yes, the upper-middle class has done better than the middle class or the poor, but the huge gaps are between the super-rich and everyone else. The basic problem is that most families used to receive something approaching their fair share of economic growth, and they don’t anymore.

As we wrote in our state policy report, the preeminent challenge of our times is figuring out how to reverse what is being called the Great Decoupling. Where even when the economy is growing––as it has been in Michigan since the end of the Great Recession––only those at the top are benefiting from that growth. The policy priority needs to be reestablishing an economy where as the economy grows all Michigan households enjoy rising incomes.

We propose a public investment agenda to boost education attainment, invest in quality of place and broadly share prosperity. Leonhardt suggests: “My list would start with a tax code that does less to favor the affluent, a better-functioning education system, more bargaining power for workers and less tolerance for corporate consolidation.”

The list of what policy levers matters most is what we should be debating. How to use federal and state policy to raise household income for all. Not assuming that that has happened because the unemployment rate is low. Or even worse, not caring about whether the economy is benefitting all, rather than the few.

Leonhardt is right that this is a choice, not inevitable, when he writes: “Yet there is nothing natural about the distribution of today’s growth — the fact that our economic bounty flows overwhelmingly to a small share of the population. Different policies could produce a different outcome.”


The post Low unemployment doesn’t mean a prosperous Michigan appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Incentivizing Detroit homeownership for teachers could boost student, community outcomes

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

Recently, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a new program that offers homes in the city’s 30,000-property land bank to employees of Detroit schools – both traditional and charter – at a 50 percent discount.

The idea is to attract educators back to the city and its schools and help solve Detroit’s teacher shortage. As recently as April, Detroit Public Schools Community District officials said the district was more than 260 teachers short, forcing DPSCD to rely upon short-term solutions like using administrators and long-term substitutes to cover classrooms. The shortage has also led to severely overcrowded classrooms that have seriously stymied the district’s efforts to boost student success.

While many are hopeful that the housing incentive could ease the district’s issues with classroom overcrowding, having more teachers in the city has an important ancillary benefit: The reintroduction of middle class families into a city that has staggering rates of concentrated poverty. White and black middle class flight has left Detroit grappling with paralyzing rates of concentrated poverty, defined as neighborhoods where more than 40 percent of residents fall below the federal poverty threshold ($24,000 for a family of four). According to a study recently released by the Brookings Institution, metro Detroit has the highest rate of concentrated poverty among the top 25 metro areas in the U.S. by population.

In a 2015 City Lab article, urban theorist Richard Florida argued that concentrated poverty is America’s biggest problem because children who grow up in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty often find themselves stuck there. He presents evidence that policy decisions such as exclusionary suburban housing policies have exacerbated the problem. And a 2016 report by Harvard researchers Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Lawrence Katz found that children who live in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty at a young age then move to a lower-poverty neighborhood had significantly higher college attendance rates and earnings than their peers who remained in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty.

Currently, more than half of DPSCD’s teachers live outside of Detroit. The drive to move more teachers into Detroit won’t totally address Detroit’s lack of economic diversity, but their increased presence in the city would be a welcome development. One unfortunate consequence for children who live in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty is that they are often denied the opportunity to form personal relationships with college-educated adults. It matters because as Michigan Future Inc. posits in our first-ever policy agenda, increasing college attainment is by far the most effective strategy to boost household income in Michigan. At the press conference to announce the new incentive, DPSCD Superintendant Nick Vitti acknowledged the program’s potential to build stronger bonds between students and educators.

“…It allows us to go back to an age when our teachers were directly linked to our schools and the community, which builds a better relationship with our students,” Vitti said.

So while I’m hopeful that the city’s housing incentive for teachers will lower class sizes, I also hope that the infusion of middle class families in Detroit neighborhoods will help dilute Detroit’s concentrated poverty and increase low income residents’ exposure to middle class families, potentially boosting access to opportunity for Detroit students and the schools where they are educated.

The post Incentivizing Detroit homeownership for teachers could boost student, community outcomes appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Student loans and home ownership

August 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

The story that taking out student loans is a path to pauperdom rather than prosperity dominates the public conversation. One problem: its wrong. As we have covered repeatedly (see here and here) getting a four-year degree, even with student loans, is the best investment one can make.

One part of the story about the negative effects of student loans is that it is stopping folks from buying a home. New data from the New York Fed shows how wrong that story is. Yes the data show that those with a four-year degree with student loans by the age of 33 have lower home ownership rates than those with a four-year degree without student loans. Which, of course, is what we should expect. Paying off student loans means you have less money to buy other things including a home.

But the data also show that those with four-year degrees and student loans have higher home ownership rates at 33 than those with less than a four year degree, including those without student loans.

The data, quite encouragingly, also shows that earning a college degree also mitigates substantially family background when it comes to owning a home. College graduates from households with below mean income tend to have home ownership rates nearly equal to those from above mean income households. summarizes the New York Fed data in a story this way:

Chakrabarti (Dr. Rajashri Chakrabarti, a senior economist in the Microeconomic Studies Function at the New York Fed) presented statistics that show that, by age 33, those who graduated from college with no debt owned homes at a rate above 45 percent, whereas those who graduated with debt owned homes at just under 45 percent. Those who did not attend college owned homes at a rate of between 25 and 30 percent.

Bachelor’s-degree holders had higher home ownership rates regardless of debt status. For instance, bachelor’s-degree holders with student loan debt owned homes at a rate of above 45 percent, besting associate-degree holders without debt, who owned homes at a rate of just above 40 percent.

Chakrabarti noted that students who graduated with debt enjoy home ownership at higher rates than those who did not graduate — even those without debt — at every educational attainment level. For instance, college graduates with debt owned homes at a rate of above 50 percent, whereas non-college graduates without debt only owned homes at a rate of under 40 percent.

The chart below from the New York Fed data shows the relationship between getting a four-year degree and home ownership with or without student loans: continues:

… William Dudley, president and CEO of the New York Fed, said: “The message is go to school and finish school.” “Even if you have student debt, you’ll be in better shape than if you didn’t go to school and didn’t finish school,” Dudley said. “Even if you go to school and take on student debt, you’ll still do better than people who didn’t go to school.”





The post Student loans and home ownership appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Find the Michigan Future blogs that interest you most

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

If you read our blog you know that we frequently write about topics from our latest report “A Path to Good-paying Careers for all Michiganders: A 21st Century state policy agenda.”  Now you can search for the topics that interest you most on our blog!

See our updated categories below and click on the icons. Anytime you see the icon in a blog post you can click on it to read related content.

The transformation of work requires transformed economic policies








States and regions with the most prosperous economies will be those that make pubic investments in the assets needed to prepare, retain and attract talent.

Preparing Michiganders for good-paying 21st Century Careers




Creating places that retain and attract talent



Sharing prosperity with those not participating in the high-wage knowledge-based economy









The post Find the Michigan Future blogs that interest you most appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Could Michigan See a New Historic Preservation Tax Credit? (Please?)

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

Our recent report, “A Path to Good-paying Careers for all Michiganders: A 21st Century state policy agenda,” lays out the importance of placemaking to a prosperous Michigan, especially in our biggest cities. Some states have powerful economic development tools especially tailored to creating the cities that attract and retain talented residents, including historic preservation tax credits. Michigan had some of these tools—and may again.

Last month, State Senator Wayne Schmidt introduced Senate Bill 469, which would reestablish a version of the historic preservation tax credit that, from 1999-2011, was so successful at spurring development and rehabilitation. The bill is now under consideration in the finance committee.

Benefits of Historic Preservation Tax Credits

When Michigan’s previous tax credit was about to be abolished in 2011 in favor of the Community Revitalization Program Fund (CRP), I worked with Let’s Save Michigan, a project of the Michigan Municipal League. We organized a letter-writing campaign that resulted in 1,612 letters to the governor, state representatives, and state senators in opposition to ending the historic preservation and brownfields tax credit. This credit was serving a vital tool for stimulating development, and it seemed unlikely that the replacement CRP would have the same impacts.

Here is an excerpt from that campaign:

The economic impacts of our Historic Preservation and Brownfield economic development tools are well documented:

  • Since 2000, 706 brownfield projects were approved. These projects totaled $12.87 billion in investment (private dollars). The approved tax credit (state investment) was $1.270 billion dollars.
  • The Historic Tax Credit(HTC) alone has leveraged $1.46 billion in direct rehabilitation activity and created 36,000 jobs since its enactment in 1999.
  • Each $1.00 of credit issued leverages $10.56 in direct economic impact.
  • The HTC has leveraged $251 million in Federal historic tax credits. This is federal dollars coming back into Michigan’s economy!
  • Michigan Historic and Brownfield tax credits make projects feasible when others have given up. They put underutilized and core urban real estate back on local and state tax rolls.

It’s important to note that these programs are used to fill gaps in the financing of rehabilitation real estate projects and issued only after rehabilitation expenses are incurred. Therefore projects generate significant economic impact, and state and local tax revenue before the credits are issued.

Michigan’s HTC and Brownfield programs are some of the state’s most useful tools for revitalizing older communities. They make rehabilitation projects possible, and those projects drive economic growth in Michigan.

Unfortunately, the campaign was unsuccessful. Fortunately, some legislators are now reconsidering.

As a fund receiving annual allocations rather than a tax credit, the CRP is limited in its ability to impact Michigan communities, and in its capacity as a strategic tool. Only a limited number of projects will qualify and a smaller number receive awards, which means that each year, projects are left with a financing gap. Finally, the CRP as implemented seems to be designed for large-scale, commercial, and job-creating development, leaving smaller housing developments without support. The old tax credit—and the new one proposed by Sen. Schmidt—can even be used by homeowners rehabbing an historic property.

While it’s clear that these tax credits are huge economic development boosts in communities that feature historic properties, there’s also strong evidence that historic properties in particular help to develop a strong, authentic character that attracts residents and tourists, increases neighborhood pride and cultural identity, and helps a community stand out as unique.

Michigan communities need more tools to enable their revitalization, or else we won’t be able to develop the concentrations of educated workers that we need. We look forward to watching the progress of this bill or others like it.

Download our report on what it will take to make Michigan prosperous again here.

The post Could Michigan See a New Historic Preservation Tax Credit? (Please?) appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Serena & Lily Summer Savings

July 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

We love a good deal from Serena & Lily and this week they’ve got a Summer Tent Sale that should not be missed. Give any room an update with this sale because items are 30-70% off. Choose from bedding, bath, furniture, rugs and more.




Why Pittsburgh is booming

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

We have written frequently (most recently here and here) about Pittsburgh as Exhibit A for how so-called Rust Belt regions can return to prosperity. The basic recipe: make the transition from a factory-drvien to a knowledge-driven economy largely by retaining and attracting talent.

The New York Times––in the Fashion and Style section of all places––provides an update on the Pittsburgh renaissance in an article entitled Pittsburgh Gets a Tech Makeover. They write:

In a 2014 article in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mayor Bill Peduto compared Carnegie Mellon, along with the University of Pittsburgh, to the iron ore factories that made this city an industrial power in the 19th century. The schools are the local resource “churning out that talent” from which the city is fueled.

Because of the top students and research professors at Carnegie Mellon, tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Uber have opened offices here.

What a difference retaining and attracting talent makes! Richard Florida has explained that the genesis of his writing The Rise of the Creative Class was his experience living in Pittsburgh and working at Carnegie Mellon in the 1990s. Florida observed that Carnegie Mellon was quite successful in commercializing technology breakthroughs. But once those new companies started to scale they moved to places like Boston because of the shortage of talent in metro Pittsburgh.

Florida’s groundbreaking insight laid out in the book was that businesses were now moving to where talent is concentrated rather than people moving to where the jobs are. Talent had become the driver of economic growth and prosperity, not being business friendly. This is even more true today than in 2002 when the book was published.

Pittsburgh’s renaissance is driven in large part by transitioning from an exporter of talent––particularly young professionals––to a importer of talent. Once a place where talent went to college and then left, it now is a place where more and more graduates stay after college as well as a place that attracts talent from elsewhere. That is the story the Times tells in their article.

45.5 percent of metro Pittsburgh’s 25-34 year olds have a four year degree. Michigan’s two big metros? Metro Detroit is at 32.6 percent, metro Grand Rapids 35.9 percent. Maybe more telling is that metro Pittsburgh’s share of young professionals nationally compared to its share nationally of total population is 126 percent. Its population is over concentrated in young professionals. Metro Detroit is 86 percent, its under concentrated in young professionals. Grand Rapids is 107 percent, just above an even share.

There are three big  picture lessons Pittsburgh should teach us:

  1. The path to prosperity involves aligning with––rather than resisting––the transformation of the economy from factory based to knowledge based. Pittsburgh is more prosperous today compared to the nation than it was in its steel heyday.
  2. Vibrant central cities, where young talent from anyplace on the planet want to live and work, is arguably the most important ingredient to prosperity. Young talent is  both entrepreneurial––creating new-high wage businesses––and an attractor of high-wage knoweldge-based enterprises––like  Apple, Facebook, Google and Uber mentioned in the Times article.
  3. Research universities are a tremendous asset in building a high prosperity knowledge-based economy. When you have one––or more than one as is the case in metro Detroit––leverage it as much as possible.

Its far past time than Michigan political and business leadership move away from a turn back the clock economic growth strategy to a strategy based on an understanding that vibrant central cities and research universities are essential assets in restoring Michigan to high prosperity.

The post Why Pittsburgh is booming appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Not investing is not an option

July 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Off

The policy agenda we released in April is built around public investment. Years of cuts to our education system, our cities, to public services, and to our social safety net have placed a drag on the economy and lowered living standards for Michiganders. To put Michigan on a path to prosperity, public investment is required.

Whenever the prospect of public investment is raised, however, the question that immediately follows is inevitably “how are you going to pay for that?” And the answer, simply enough, is that we have to raise revenue.

Disinvestment in Michigan

The extent of state disinvestment in critical public services over the past twenty years is astounding: we’ve cut $1 billion from higher education since the early 2000s, creating massive obstacles to student access and success; the minimum foundation grant for K-12 students has dropped by over $1,000 in real terms since 2002, preventing non-affluent districts from making needed investments to improve student outcomes; the state  has diverted $6.2 billion from municipal revenue sharing since 2002, contributing to fiscal distress in cities across Michigan; and we’ve wholly disintegrated our social safety net.

In the pursuit of anti-tax policies, we’ve failed to invest in the drivers of today’s economy, including higher education, vibrant central cities, and an active and engaged workforce.

How much money do we have? How much money could we have?

Michigan has an annual budget of roughly $54 billion, with roughly $30 billion coming from state revenue and the rest coming from federal sources. This $30 billion in revenue is roughly 7% of the state’s total personal income, 2.5 percentage points below the constitutional revenue limit of 9.5%.

This additional 2.5% we could add to the state offers ends up equating to quite a bit of money: $10 billion. An additional $10 billion in state revenue would be equivalent to nearly doubling the state’s general fund, giving the state more than enough resources to appropriately share revenue with financially strapped cities, support education, maintain our roads and water systems, and properly fund social services.

And this level of revenue isn’t a stretch – the state collected up to the constitutional revenue limit in the mid-90s through the early 00s, as you can see in the chart below from Michigan’s House Fiscal Agency.



Where will the money come from? The case for a graduated income tax

When it comes to raising revenue, we can’t get too creative. Ninety-four percent of the School Aid Fund and General Fund come from four major state taxes: the individual income tax, sales and use taxes, business taxes, and state property taxes. The personal income tax and the sales and use tax are the largest sources of revenue among these, by a good margin.

One oft-floated idea for raising revenue is to expand the sales tax to cover more services, which are largely excluded from taxation. The argument goes that as services take up a larger and larger portion of consumer spending, we’re leaving a lot of money on the table by not taxing these expenditures. However, due to the regressive nature of the sales tax, relying on a sales tax expansion to raise revenue may be less than ideal from an equity standpoint.

On the other hand, a convincing equity argument can be made for the adoption of a graduated income tax. While non-affluent families in Michigan have failed to see their incomes rise over the past forty years, those at the top of the income distribution have done very well. Research by Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard found that between 1976 and 2013, the top 20% of Michigan households saw their incomes rise by over 20%, with the top 10% seeing an increase of almost 40%. The bottom 70%, on the other hand, saw incomes rise by at most 5%, with incomes either stagnant or declining for the bottom 50% of households. A graduated income tax would ask a bit more from those who’ve done well, while not inflicting pain on the vast majority of Michiganders who’ve seen a decline in their standard of living.

This is far from an out-of-the-box idea – Michigan is actually one of only six states with no progressivity in its income tax. And contrary to the narrative that tax cuts lead to economic growth, it’s states with graduated income taxes like New York and Minnesota – who have enough revenue to fund higher education and central cities – and the most prosperous state economies.

Aside from the equity argument, a progressive state income tax also makes sound economic sense. Because state taxes paid can be deducted on your federal taxes, the rest of the country effectively subsidizes higher state tax rates.

Not investing is not an option

Moving to a graduated income tax is just one idea to make the investments needed to put Michigan on a path to prosperity – there are surely others. But not investing is not an option. The things that actually drive a state’s economy – a vibrant knowledge economy, strong central cities, an active labor force – require investments in higher education, in cities, and in a strong safety net that helps all Michiganders find good work at a good wage.

We’ve had plenty of years to test out the strategy of tax cuts and disinvestment from core public services, and the results speak for themselves. It’s time for a new strategy.





The post Not investing is not an option appeared first on Michigan Future Inc..

Next Page »