By: - March 25, 2020 12:26 pm

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Fair Tax Michigan campaign suspended signature collection efforts for its ballot initiative for a graduated income tax in November.

“While our campaign is suspending our efforts to collect signatures, we are not suspending our campaign for a fair tax system,” the coalition said in a press release Tuesday. “We plan to continue building our coalition, planning for 2022 and communicating about the need for more funding for education, roads and clean water, and the need for a fair income tax structure in Michigan.”

This is the second ballot initiative to fold due to the challenge of canvassing without face-to-face interactions due to COVID-19. On Friday, the Coalition to Close Lansing Loopholes, which sought to ban all gifts from lobbyists, also suspended its campaign until 2022.

The Fair Tax Coalition wrote a letter Thursday to Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) asking for legislation that would allow an online petition signature option for this year to try to salvage the effort. 

“In the face of this public health pandemic, our government and communities are adjusting the way we do things for the safety of all of us; making petition signing digitally accessible can and should be one of those adjustments,” the letter said.

The campaign had to gather at least 425,059 signatures in order for the constitutional amendment to make it on the ballot.

Michigan is one of only nine states that doesn’t have a tax system in which those who make more money pay a higher rate. Currently, everyone pays a flat 4.25% income tax. The measure would have reduced the tax rate for individuals with income of $175,000 or less and joint filers with an income of $350,000 or less.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.