Column: Let’s use data to put kids and families first

BY: - July 15, 2021

Every year, Kids Count in Michigan asks how government policies and budgets can better prioritize what’s most important to us: young people and their families. And these questions have been even more important during the pandemic. As billions of dollars in federal support come into the state and state policymakers consider how to make the […]

Personal income is up in Michigan and all 50 states, but activists call for more help

BY: - June 29, 2021

Maureen Taylor says that there has been “phenomenal temporary” state and federal government COVID-19-related relief, but more systemic action is needed to help Michiganders through tough economic challenges.   “It’s the difference between one box of cereal and two boxes of cereal, you know what I mean?” said Taylor, chair of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “But […]

Michigan lagged nationally in education before the pandemic hit. So what can be done now?

BY: - June 25, 2021

Even before the pandemic brought a tsunami of challenges to Michigan classrooms, the state’s schools — especially those in high-poverty districts — were struggling under the weight of years of inequitable public school funding, barriers to accessing early learning and unaffordable childcare. That’s according to findings in a new report released this week from the […]

Poor People’s Campaign pushes for ‘3rd Reconstruction’ in America

BY: - May 21, 2021

The Rev. William Barber and Democratic members of Congress unveiled a resolution Wednesday calling for a “Third Reconstruction” to tackle poverty and the effects of low wages across the country. “This is the real question — what is the cost of inequality,” Barber said at a Washington news conference. The resolution aims to achieve a variety […]

Gilchrist wants GOP lawmakers to show ‘leadership’ on fighting COVID-19, getting vaccinated

BY: - March 29, 2021

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said last week it is “absolutely ridiculous” that GOP lawmakers have fought a nationally recognized tool designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities at higher risk for the deadly virus. “The Social Vulnerability Index takes into account a number of factors, like about 20 factors,” said Gilchrist at a […]

‘It’s going to be a lifesaver’: Here’s how the new child tax credit expansion works 

BY: - March 19, 2021

When U.S. President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law last week, setting up millions of families across the country to receive regular monthly payments as part of the child tax credit expansion, Anthony Queen breathed a sigh of relief.  Help, the father of an 8-year-old son thought, is on the […]


Column: Here’s what lawmakers have done — and must keep doing — to help people amid the pandemic

BY: - March 12, 2021

On March 13, 2020, almost one year ago today, I wrote a column for the Michigan Advance outlining some public policy solutions to reduce COVID-19’s impact on workers and families with lower incomes. A year later, I thought I’d take a look at how well policymakers have responded to the pandemic-related needs of Michigan families. […]

Poverty task force wants Michigan to cut red tape for safety net programs, increase opportunities for inmates

BY: - February 18, 2021

To better support the millions of Michiganders struggling to make ends meet, the state should expand apprenticeship opportunities for inmates while they are incarcerated, end asset tests for food assistance, and increase affordable housing for low-income families and people without housing, among a series of other initiatives, according to a newly released report from the […]

Outlook for $15/hour minimum wage boosted by new govt. report

BY: - February 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in a report Monday found a gradual increase to a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would reduce poverty, add $54 billion to the deficit over a decade and increase pay for millions of low-income workers. The report could help Democrats make a strong case for including a gradual […]


Rick Haglund: Can rural economies be saved?

BY: - January 30, 2021

As part of her $5.6 billion COVID-19 recovery plan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced she was creating an Office of Rural Development to tackle the lack of broadband internet, talent, public infrastructure and other deficiencies in struggling rural communities. In Washington, President Joe Biden is being urged to appoint a rural czar who would lead […]

Anti-foreclosure activists demand more help in Detroit

BY: - January 16, 2021

Elected officials have stopped short of agreeing to meet demands of a coalition of activists and organizations who are calling for remedies to address tax-related home foreclosures in Detroit.  The Coalition for Property Tax Justice, armed with the hashtag #BlackHomesMatter, wants the state, county and local government to better address Detroit residents who have lost […]


Gilda Z. Jacobs: It’s time to fix Michigan’s safety net

BY: - October 24, 2020

The more precarious a person’s position, the more important a strong, secure safety net is. That has been crystallized by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has jeopardized millions of Michiganders’ jobs, housing, health, food security and more.  Michigan kids, workers and parents continue to face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, especially Black and Brown residents, families […]