By CELESTE BOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan has a widening income gap, according to a national study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. The institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., compared the incomes of the richest households to low- and middle-income households, showing inequality at the state level. Elizabeth McNichol, co-author of the report and a specialist on fiscal issues, said that while income inequality is a national problem, state governments can make changes that can help close the gap and promote more economic growth. “As state policymakers plan their budgets for next year, they should pursue policies that push back against the trend of rising inequality,” McNichol said. “States that narrow – rather than widen – income gaps will reap economic benefits in the long run.”
Actions state governments can take include raising the minimum wage, making tax systems less regressive, strengthening support for low-income workers, and improving the unemployment insurance system, according to the institute.