Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Tax Attack 2007 - May 8th!

Grand Rapids residents need to be aware of tax attack 2007! There are three tax increase proposals on the ballot May 8th - did you know that? This is the problem with May elections - who pays attention?

Tax issues include the following:
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools - GRPS is asking for a renewal of their 18 mill non-homestead operating millage. Basically what this means is that GRPS depends on an 18 mill tax on properties that are not claimed as primary residences. The 18 mill amount has actually decreased to 17.8258 mills due to Headlee amendment reductions. This is generally a non-controversial issue since homeowners do not pay it, only businesses and rental property owners (thus renters).
  • Grand Rapids Community College - This one is a true tax increase. GRCC is asking for a an additional .56 mills, in addition to the current 1.7856 mills they already tax us for. That's a whopping 31% increase. The increase will bring an additional $11 million to the college each year in revenues. It will cost the average homeowner an additional $28 a year, or about $140 over the next five years.
  • Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid) - We're no friends of the Rapid, as our readers should know. They are asking for a .17 mill increase to the .95 mills they already get in tax revenue. That's an 18% increase. The new tax will raise about $2 million a year for the Rapid. This will cost the average GR homeowner about $8 a year or $40 over five years.

All told, the two homestead tax increases will cost the average homeowner about $37 a year extra, for a total annual cost of $173 a year for both GRCC and The Rapid.

Oh, and Grand Rapids Public Schools board elections are on the ballot too - but does anyone even care any more?


  1. Using our critical thinking skills, we wonder why this group doesn’t think we are going to check their numbers – their references aren’t germane to the fleet at hand, and one is to a tertiary source. Right away I don’t trust them. For example: why are they comparing hybrid and ULSD buses to diesel buses?

    Further using our critical thinking skills we can look at the first claim, and look at the citation, and don’t find their number. We do find a table, however (table 29 pg 25), stating how much fuel we save if we take transit.

    We can also critically think of the cost to society by visualizing a bus carrying 10 passengers for a mile, resulting in 36.50 passenger mi/gal.

    Further using our critical thinking skills, we can then visualize a 110 lb soccer mom driving alone in a 6000 lb vehicle that gets 10 mpg, resulting in 10 passenger mi/gal.

    Wow, we think: we didn’t think about their selective “facts” – a bus gets 3.65 times better mileage than a soccer mom does when it’s ¼ full.

    We then continue to use our critical thinking skills to check their other “facts”, and by gosh:

    Transit buses spew 50 times more pollution and 279 times more soot than a passenger car.

    Sure, we think, but where are their citations for their numbers for the GR fleet, not the nationwide fleet? Is this for all buses? Surely this is not for the hybrid buses. Why does this “fact” sheet make you believe GR uses only diesel? What is this per passenger mile?

    These “facts” just seem to be digested around here with no chewing. Further,

    Are there alternatives? What about all those who can’t drive? What will the elderly or the young do? Drive? What do the opponents offer as an alternative to help the elderly get around? Leave ½ hour earlier in the morning and take Ethyl to the drugstore?



  2. Apparently you didn't use your critical reading skills very well. I was able to find the 3.65 miles per gallon information exactly where their site says it is.

    In addition, your lack of critical reading skills shows that you didn't even read the web site. They're not arguing that there shouldn't be transit for the folks who need it, they're just saying the current money could be spent better.

    Case in point - two hybrid buses for $500,000 each. And according to Tuesday's GR Press, that means 20% better gas mileage. So we go from around 4 miles per gallon to around 5 miles per gallon! Wow!