Thanks to the signing of the Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853) into law by President Obama, several measures designed to accelerate the economic recovery will be both on-going and forthcoming. This law keeps income tax rates constant for two years, payroll taxes will be cut 2% in 2011 (that will result in a cut of $200 for every 10,000 you make in 2011), it extends an array of stimulus related tax incentives for business to completely write-off investments in 2011, and extends unemployment benefits an additional 13 months. These economic recovery measures are absolutely a vital part of the recovery for the nation, the state of Michigan, and the city of Detroit.
Jobless Michiganders were worried that unemployment benefit checks would soon stop due to the inability to compromise and negotiate in good faith among the Democrats and Republicans. Now, those already receiving unemployment benefits should see no break in benefits as long as they haven't already exhausted the 99 weeks of benefits available. An estimated 180,500 Michiganders were in danger of losing their benefits between now and April 30th.
Christine Etue, of Northville, who lost her job as a claims manager in October 2009 said that the extension of the unemployment benefits program was good news "for a lot of people, not just me." She went on to say, "It either get that (check), or you get to the point where you start losing things - such as your home."
With Michigan having the 2nd highest unemployment in the nation at 12.4% and the city of Detroit at over 30%, this law will provide much needed relief for those facing hardship due to being jobless. Note, the unemployment rate in Detroit has actually been estimated over 40% if you include frustrated job seekers, the seasonally employed, etc.
"Extending unemployment benefits is not only the right thing to do, it's the right economic policy. Money from unemployment benefits is rapidly spent in the local economy like the grocery store, the corner pharmacy, and the gas station; all stimulating demand. This legislation will make the holiday a little brighter for unemployed workers and their families." (Gov. Jennifer Granholm).
Mayor Dave Bing praised and supported President Obama's bipartisan efforts. Mayor Bing mentioned that this new law ensures that working families and those looking for work will receive the support they needs as our economy continues to recover and is good news for Detroit. Bing went on to say, "We cannot afford to turn our backs on the unemployed and the middle class in the kind of difficult times we're facing. This bipartisan compromise also sets the stage to help businesses in our city and across the country make the necessary investments to jump start our economy. It is the kind of difficult, but necessary choices we have to make."
Individually and collectively, Michiganders must make a conscious effort to shop and buy products produced in Michigan. Detroiters, on the other hand, must change their mindset believing that they have to go to the suburbs to shop. Detroit has some of the finest retail shops with unique and quality merchandise in the state. There is simply too much money leaving the city for products that they can find right in their neighborhood. Like City Council President Charles Pugh said, there's an estimated $2 billion leaving out of the city for things like retail, but if we could spend just 10% in the city, that would make a huge difference and a great start.
For more information pertaining to the Unemployment Insurance Agency in Michigan, please visit www.michigan.gov/uia.
For more information pertaining to the Michigan Dept. Of Energy Labor & Economic Growth, please visit www.michigan.gov/deleg.
For more information pertaining to the services of Michigan Works, please visit www.michworks.org .
For more information pertaining to other efforts that the federal government is doing, please visit www.recovery.gov .