Detroit News: Tax reform works for Michigan
By Tim Walberg, Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga, Fred Upton, Dave Trott, Paul Mitchell, Jack Bergman, and John Moolenaar
This week, our country honors the men and women who work hard every day to provide for their families and get the job done. Also, across the state, families are sending students back to school to pursue another year of education that will help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to secure a job following graduation. That’s why we have supported legislation that lets hardworking Michiganders keep more of their own money and empowered new learning opportunities for students.
Right now, unemployment is near historic lows; the economy is strong and providing opportunities for all. Here in Michigan, we know a good comeback and we also know that a booming economy doesn’t just happen on its own - it comes as a result of implementing sound policies that benefit families.
With the overhaul of our outdated tax code, employers have announced raises, made new investments, and expanded employee benefits. Employees have kept more of their own money, benefiting from the lower tax rates that were implemented in February. All of this means more money in the pockets of hardworking Michigan residents and that is always a good thing.
The new tax law also established Opportunity Zones, to spur redevelopment and bring jobs into underserved areas. It has been more than 10 years since the start of the Great Recession, but many communities are still on the road to recovery. This new community development program will encourage long-term investment in low-income and rural communities by providing a tax incentive for investors. The IRS designated 288 qualifying Opportunity Zones in Michigan, and they have a unique and exciting potential to attract investment and grow existing industry sectors across our state.
For parents, there will be even more benefits from tax reform, when they claim the new, doubled Child Tax Credit. This $2,000 per child credit will help families save more on their taxes and the extra money will go a long way. When we hear from families they tell us the extra money will help them pay for clothing, bills, and diapers. We also know a lot of families are living paycheck-to-paycheck and this extra money will help them with unexpected expenses like an emergency car repair.
Despite all of these positive outcomes and optimism, our work is not done. We now have a situation in our country where there are more open jobs than there are job seekers. While this may seem like a good problem to have, it’s critical to close the skills gap and ensure students are connected with the training they need to enter our workforce.
That’s why we joined to pass bipartisan legislation, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act that invests over $7.5 billion in career and technical education. President Trump signed this legislation into law last month, marking a strong step in the right direction to help individuals achieve the American dream and find fulfilling work.
We believe that tomorrow’s good-paying jobs will come from the freedom to innovate from the ground up – from our local communities and small businesses, not Washington. And we are committed to building on our progress to make sure families across our nation have confidence in the future and every opportunity to succeed.
The authors are Republican U.S. congressmen from Michigan. This op-ed originally appeared in the August 31 edition of the Detroit News.