2018-02-15 / Letters to the Editor

Who is representing the taxpayers?

I see a group of local politicians assembled to discuss raising county taxes 28% (“Restoration millage proposal progresses,” Resorter, Feb. 8). This tax increase from 3.583 mills to 4.6 mills is being promoted under the guise of “restoration.”

The Michigan Department of Treasury states the Headlee millage reduction “intends that, ignoring additions and losses, any current operation millage must be reduced if it would produce more tax dollars, adjusted for inflation, than it did last year.” So, the county is receiving what was approved plus adjustments for inflation. This “restoration” is really just a more palatable way for them to propose a large tax increase on residents and businesses.

This 28% tax increase would hit every homeowner in the county with an increase for 20 years. It will also hit the local job providers. This will cost many businesses well over a thousand dollars in additional taxes every year. I believe we should be focusing on attracting new businesses to the area, not raising their taxes. No one wants to see more businesses close their doors.

While this tax would hit primary homeowners and businesses, it also would hit secondary homeowners. These people spend a lot of money in our county, and they do not have any break in their taxes as their homes are secondary. I do know these people consider taxes when purchasing.

There was no direct need expressed in the article other than a laundry list of items the new cash could be spent on. In fact, there isn’t a need or wish list shown that meets the annual amount of the increase. It was expressed by a commissioner that the townships would have to show they will “use the funds properly.” How about they express a clear need and then explain why that need entails a tax increase?

I think most residents of the county would fairly assess any need that is properly explained to them – and they would support increased taxes if they saw the financial need really was warranted. However, to propose such a “restoration,” which is really a 28% tax increase in disguise, is dubious and disingenuous.

Phillip Spicer

Houghton Lake

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