Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Grand Rapids Income Tax Increase Scam is Getting Worse

This past week the City of Grand Rapids has admitted that the pension fund deficit for this coming fiscal year (starting July 1, 2010) has gotten even worse than before. According to the Grand Rapids Press, the city's pension plan actuary (the people who run the plan and tell the city how much needs to be contributed for it to be fully funded) has increased the city's required pension fund contribution by $3.7 million.

This is on top of the $7 million pension deficit that was already budgeted for next year. This means that the pension fund contribution deficit (not the total amount due) is now over $10 million, just for next year.

And the city continues to maintain that the income tax increase on the ballot May 4th will "save" or "increase" city services. The income tax increase is expected to raise about $7 million next year. How exactly do they expect to "increase" or "save" city jobs when the new pension deficit alone is over $10 million. Now we're at a point where more than 100% of the income tax increase will go solely to the pension plans (as I demonstrated, using the city's own numbers). If the income tax increase passes, it will go straight from the wallets of city residents to the pension fund.

The city has been having a series of "town hall" meeting to explain and drum up support for the income tax increase. By the sounds of it, they aren't going so well:
Bill Kudlack showed up at Monday's town hall meeting on the fence about whether to support a city income tax increase over the next five years. He left still on his perch.

"There is a lot of government waste, and I always think you can cut somewhere else," said Kudlack, emphasizing he needs to be convinced officials have done everything possible to reduce costs before coming to taxpayers for a hike.

But Mike Farage said he left the meeting even more convinced he can't support a higher income tax.

"Clearly, their best is not good enough," Farage said of using taxpayer dollars efficiently. "They are also using the typical scare tactic when it comes to police and fire services."

Only about 40 people showed up at Union High School for the first of six scheduled town hall meetings, and many of those were city employees. The meetings are designed to examine city finances and inform voters about the two May 4 ballot requests.

The word is getting out there: the income tax increase will do nothing to save or improve city services.

The city bureaucrats and politicians are desperate to prop up the failing pension systems at all cost, no matter how much it costs taxpayers. They want to continue to make sure the problem is put off as long as possible. But math is a simple thing - it always works. Not even the Grand Rapids city commission can repeal the laws of compounding numbers. The pension plans will fail. The question is how long will we, as residents, tolerate cutting our family budgets just to fund Cadillac pension plans for city workers?

1 comment:

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