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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Open Letter to Michigan Teachers and Unions

Photo credit - Jeff Israel
Dear Teachers and Unions,
Rumors and stories are out there that Senator Pavlov has been contacting you and asking you not to participate in or back the recall against him - promising support in the future. We ask you not to believe what can be nothing more than a hollow promise designed to help him keep his job.

All you have to do is look at the legislation he has introduced or voted for to see where he stands and whose side he is on.

He voted to cut public school funding.

He introduced and voted to eliminate the cap on charter schools – taking more public school dollars to give to for-profit self-regulated charter schools.

He introduced many of the bills and voted yes on them, which are now Public Act 4 – The Emergency Financial Manager Law. I would encourage you to take a look at this it provides a decent summary of what this law is doing and the links and cobwebs of its supporters and benefactors:

He voted to cut corporate income taxes by 86% while raising taxes on working families by 31% by reducing or eliminating many deductions or credits. And voted to tax pensions.
• Repeal of the public pension exclusion for taxpayers born on or after Jan. 1, 1946;
• Repeal of the pension exemption amount for private pensions and annuities;
• Repeal of other special exemptions for seniors;
• Repeal of special exemption for unemployment compensation greater than 50 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI);
• Repeals the $600 deduction for children 18 and under;
• Repeals the credit for city income taxes;
• Repeals the credit for public contributions, contributions to homeless shelters, food banks, and community foundations;
• Repeals the credit for contributions to medical savings accounts;
• Repeals the credit for college tuition and fees;
• Phases out the personal exemption beginning at $75,000 of household resources for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers;
• Lowers the Earned Income Tax Credit from 20% to 6%
• Elimination or reduction of the homestead tax credit, based on new guidelines for a homes taxable value and revised definition of income now know as household resources

Expanded Definition of Income: The new tax law includes a change from using “household income” to “household resources” in defining income for the purposes of the HPTC.14 Household resources include all income received by all individuals in the household and excludes selected business losses. This change will impact family members that are living together because the household may contain more wage earners. While living under the same roof, these individuals are not necessarily sharing income. Yet, this greater income will be included in total household resources so that even fewer filers will qualify for the credit. The change creates a disincentive for families to help others needing shelter by taking them into their homes.

Now they are discussing raising gas taxes by 9 cents a gallon and vehicle registration fees by 67% per year. Another tax increase that will put an additional burden on working families and lower income residents.

Phil Pavlov has admitted to being a one-time member of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) who describes themselves as “Nonpartisan individual membership organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions.” This organization has reported connections to the Koch brothers.

Phil Pavlov also has connections to and receives money from the Great Lakes Education Project, a DeVos founded organization supporting the privatization of schools. Their Facebook Page is a cheering section for Phil Pavlov.

Phil Pavlov also has connections to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy who have close ties to the Emergency Financial Manager law. The EFM of Pontiac was once a former adjunct scholar and director of municipal finance at the Mackinac Center. The Mackinac Center are also big supporters for Right-to-Work. “A right-to-work law is a powerful economic development tool,” LaFaive said. “I worry that without a right-to-work law of our own, Indiana will grow at Michigan’s expense.” They have also reportedly received funding from the Koch brothers, the Walton family and Dick DeVos. Phil Pavlov when asked at a town hall meeting last year if supported Right-to-Work finally admitted “Yes” after trying to dance around the question first.

We ask you to review this information and decide whether sitting on the sidelines and not exercising your voice is really the right thing to do. Can we really risk three more years of Phil Pavlov as our state senator. Based on his record this far do you really think he will change direction and start supporting teachers, unions and the rest of working class families in our district and the state.

We are not asking for a public declaration of support or money. We need you, your people, boots on the ground going door to door to stand with us not with Pavlov.
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