Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bus Tax Never Dies

For years now, the county elites have been trying to raise taxes to fund a county bus system.  The Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority (KCTA) was established by the county commission with the power to put tax hikes on the ballot (conveniently shielding commissioners from having to vote for them).

This blog first covered the issue in May 2006, laying out the problems with government bus systems.  The tax hikers succeeded in convincing 53.4% of county voters to pass a countywide tax by focusing on the Car-a-van (now Metro Connect) service for disabled people.  In 2007, Western cut two bus routes, but when students complained, Western privatized the routes and saved 25%.  The 2006 tax hike was intended to transition to a permanent countywide bus system, but in 2008, voters rejected the tax, with 58% opposed.

After this setback, the tax-hikers had to come up with a new plan.  They went back to the city of Kalamazoo, which never met a tax it didn't like, to fund the bus system. An extension of the Car-a-van program was passed countywide in 2009.

The tax-hikers convinced local legislators to pass a bill allowing an authority to cover part of the county, rather than all.  The idea was to focus on the areas that actually use bus service, though many people in the proposed district still live miles from the nearest bus stop.  Presumably they also want the largest district they can get that will pass their tax hikes.  So far as this blog knows, the new district has not been finalized.

This time, the bus-taxers are putting a tax proposal, possibly an increase, on the ballot in May 2013.  This appears to be a renewal of the Car-a-van tax, although the article isn't clear on this.

Kalamazoo County Transit Authority will ask voters to approve tax request in May

Bus Tax Zone
More Bus Taxes
Taxes on the Ballot
Tax Hike Plans
Future Tax Hikes?
They Won't Take NO for an Answer
Tax Eaters Are Never Full
The bus routes have been saved
Ax the bus tax
Tax increase for busing?

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