Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming All Vote to Raise Taxes For Public Safety

The silent majority speaks on taxes, and we find that the Tea Party has been left holding the soggy teabag. So to speak.

Oh, and Senator Bishop? I do believe you can BITE ME now.

Grand Rapids voted to raise taxes by the slimmest of margins. We get to keep our cops and fire fighters, and we get to keep our parks services and city pools operating. Hallelujah.

By 204 votes, Grand Rapids voters approved an increase in the city's income tax to 1.5% for residents and .65% for nonresidents, an out-of-pocket cost between $100-$200 per year.

The hike will generate about $7.5 million to fund a new manpower squad for the fire department, and 10 community policing officers. Of those funds, $2.5 million will go directly to police and fire.

Traditionally anti-tax Wyoming apparently has learned its lesson, and they approved a tax increase by a pretty decent margin.

Despite opposition from the city's panhandle, as expected, 55 percent of Wyoming voters favored a 1.25-mill, 5-year public safety tax today.

The millage will generate an estimated $2.6 million in the coming fiscal year to forestall further personnel cuts in the city's police and fire departments and build up a reserve fund large enough to weather deep deficits forecasted the next few years.

The final vote was 4,552-3,719.

Don't have a write-up on the Kentwood vote yet, but it passed very handily.

Three Michigan cities, all willing to pay more to have police and fire fighters on the job. Thank you voters of West Michigan - you have renewed my faith in humanity tonight. I haven't had a chance to look around the rest of the state yet, but the stories I have read so far seem to indicate that a lot of proposals are passing.

Democrats need to take a lesson from this, and stop being so afraid of the word "taxes". And maybe Republicans need to stop being so afraid of the teabaggers. Yes, of course it's a hard sell, and the fringe elements are going to scream about it, but when it comes to education and public safety - the voters really can be understanding. From time to time.