LANSING – Changes to the federal poverty level proposed by the Trump administration will have a direct and negative effect on Michigan residents who struggle to make ends meet, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said today, joining a comment letter signed by 21 other attorneys general urging the administration to reevaluate its proposal.
Each day, millions of Americans – and hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents – rely on a wide range of federal and state programs, including those that provide food stamps and health care assistance, to adequately provide for themselves and their families. To determine who qualifies for these programs, state and federal governments rely on the federal poverty level.
The proposal set forth by the Trump administration perpetuates the already flawed 56-year-old poverty-determining parameters, which fail to include common household expenses like income and payroll taxes, childcare and out-of-pocket medical care costs. The change being considered by the federal administration only worsens the flaws in the existing methodology and fails to account for the fact that low-income populations experience inflation at rates higher than other populations. Lowering the measure of inflation will lower the poverty threshold and reduce the number of people determined to be impoverished and eligible for federal benefits.
“In a humbling time when Michigan families need a helping hand to make ends meet, the Trump administration continues to display contempt for Americans who are struggling to feed their families,” Nessel said. “This administration has not provided adequate justification for changes that will put further financial strain on Michiganders and all Americans who look to state and federal assistance programs in times of need. That compels us to sign on to this letter.”
Nessel co-signed the letter with the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.