The Kalamazoo County Taxpayers Association has this recommendation concerning the proposed tax increases in Kalamazoo County.
Vote "NO" on everything
If there were ever a time when the people of Michigan needed to smack our public officials upside the head, now is the time. It is clear that those who are running our state government, local governments, and schools have no idea of the economic pain that the people are going through.
Michigan's unemployment rate is about 7.5 percent, nearly three points higher than the national average. Our state is the epicenter for the home foreclosure crisis, with thousands of families losing their homes, or being forced to sell at huge financial losses. Wages are stagnant or being cut, and employers and jobs are fleeing to sunnier economic climates.
In the midst of this economic crisis, what solutions do our elected officials have to offer us? Only this: they want more of our money. The state, in a ginned up budget "crisis," ramrodded through not one, but two huge tax hikes on personal income and on dozens of everyday services. Instead of cutting bloated employee health and pension benefits, state lawmakers and the governor said: "No, we're not giving up our perks. You taxpayers have to dig deeper."
This attitude of "public be damned" has infected our local governments and schools as well. Instead of tightening their belts and reforming their spending habits, several local jurisdictions are asking for more tax dollars this November 6. The Portage school district, KRESA, and Metro Transit are all asking taxpayers to squeeze more blood from a stone, and come up with even more money.
Individually, these local tax hikes are being sold as "just pennies a day" to try to fool the public into voting yes. But weary taxpayers should not fall for this trick anymore. It is time we evaluate all these tax requests as a package, including the latest tax hikes shoved down our throat by the state. The people of Michigan, and Kalamazoo County, simply cannot afford bigger, more expensive government.
That's why we are issuing this rally cry to the voters of Kalamazoo County: "Vote NO on everything!" The people of this region need to send one single, clear, strong message to our local, and state, officials. We are not sheep to be fleeced, we are not birds to be plucked, we are not cattle to be led to the slaughter.
The people of Michigan have given and given, and given some more, until our local and state tax burden now stands at 14th out of the 50 states. And that calculation was done before the latest tax hikes by the state. We have been overly generous to our public institutions and employees, and now, during these tough economic times, we only ask that they do what we have done--tighten your belts, become more efficient, and live within your (that is, our) means.
The answer to our reasonable request by our public officials has been "NO." So now is the time for voters to say the same thing, right back at them: "NO!"
NO to your never-ending requests for millage hikes.
NO to your refusal to make sensible reforms and money-saving cuts.
NO to the ever-spiraling tax burden that is pricing more and more people out of their homes.
It doesn't matter what the tax request is for, it doesn't matter how many times "the children" are invoked, it doesn't matter how they try to manipulate our emotions with sob stories of poverty. Our governments and schools get enough of our money. They don't need any more. Make them live on the already generous support that we taxpayers give them. Vote "NO" on everything November 6.