I'm not sure who the Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority is or who gave them the authority to put tax increases on the ballot, but this has got to stop.
Kalamazoo County residents will be asked to increase taxes by 0.45 mill -- about $26 per year for the average county homeowner -- on Nov. 7 to pay for public transportation.
Bill Schomisch, director of transportation for the city of Kalamazoo, said the tax increase is needed to stabilize the area's public-transit system and erase a $1.5 million Metro Transit deficit.
The nine-member Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority Monday night approved ballot language for the proposed tax increase, which, if approved by voters, would be levied in 2006 and 2007.
The tax increase is expected to raise $3.39 million in 2006, its first year. Taxes levied in the last weeks of 2006 won't be collected until 2007, while taxes levied in 2007 won't be collected until 2008. The increase represents about $26 for the average county home, which has a market value of $138,310 and a taxable value of $56,991.
The County Commission unsuccessfully tried for a larger justice facilities millage last year and a new jail before that. The Kalamazoo Public Schools succeeded in raising taxes in the Kalamazoo school district earlier this year.
As I have written before, the public buses are of poor quality and this service could better be provided by the private sector.
Every tax increase that passes will make us poorer and destroy even more jobs in Kalamazoo County. Let's hope the Kalamazoo County Taxpayers Association opposes this initiative and brings about its defeat.