Residents in downtown Muskegon's low-tax Renaissance Zones might feel like they've been playing “Muskegon Monopoly” and they just drew a Community Chest card.
And that card reads something like: “New governor changed the state income tax laws ... pay 4.35 percent.”
For more than 112 residents in the city's five Renaissance Zones — some of whom say they were lured to move there by the promise of no income taxes — it feels like a kick in the gut. The state's massive overhaul of the Michigan tax system in May will force them to begin paying income taxes beginning Jan. 1.
“This just came out of left field,” said RenZone resident Gary Post, who developed and lives in Heritage Square Town Homes on Clay Avenue in downtown Muskegon. “This is a reneging of a promise by the state.”
Actually, no, it didn't come out of left field at all. We've been talking about it all year. Some of us even begged you not to vote for these guys last fall.
But hey, don't blame the legislators, because they were too stupid to know what they were voting for! Aren't you glad they are down there in Lansing, pushing that button on their desk on your behalf, and they don't have a clue about what they are doing?
The RenZone tax changes have taken nearly everybody by surprise. Legislators voting for and against Gov. Rick Snyder's tax reform package were unaware of the effects it had on RenZone residents, legislators say.
“It's a violation of a state promise,” the freshman legislator said. “This tax change provision was never brought out in the debate. Many legislators and even the lieutenant governor (Brian Calley) were unaware of it.”
So the public didn't know what was going on, and "many" elected officials, from the Lt. Gov. on down, didn't know what was going on - but they signed off on it anyway.
That's a comforting thought. We could be at war with Canada right now and not even know it. And just for the record, this is the second time they have cried that "they didn't know what they were voting for" - the first coming when they wanted to claim they didn't know that removing cash assistance from families would include children. Someone needs to start keeping track on the "Incompetence Excuse"; apparently it's going to be the go-to card to play when the public wakes up to the damage that is being done and starts complaining about it.
On a more serious note, go read Dave Alexander's story on the tax changes, and how they will impact business development in Muskegon. The term "job-killer" comes to mind.