op-ed by Kent County business owner Karla Wagner, founder of AxeMItax.org
AxeMiTax is a citizens' initiative proposal to eliminate ALL property taxes in the state of Michigan. This would directly benefit all homeowners, landlords, renters, farmers, small and large businesses, etc. The main objective is to eliminate the state and local governments' ability to tax and SEIZE our properties because we can no longer afford the ever-increasing tax bills. Property taxpayers (not all owners pay property taxes, think non-profits, government entities, and corporations that are exempt by the government) bear the brunt of a greedy government and society that not only does not prioritize spending but cannot adhere to a budget. Last year alone, in the State of Michigan, approximately 185,000 properties entered into a tax lien seizure. These are not mortgage liens held by banks, but government tax liens. These tax liens create homeless people. We are then taxed more to create AFFORDABLE HOUSING for the homeless we create. Rent could be more affordable and homeownership will be more affordable and attainable. Homeownership creates equity and generational wealth.
Property taxes also support our state's school aid fund. But we were also told that the lottery and the increase of 2% in sales tax were going to do that. The State of Michigan's public school aid fund is $23 billion-plus.....more than 21 other states' TOTAL budgets. Are we happy with the public school curriculum? How do we spend so much on school buildings and other expenses when public school attendance is way down? How do private and Christian schools operate on donations and tuition only? Why do those parents also pay public school taxes?
All people in a community should pay for essential services such as police, fire, and road maintenance (snowplowing, patching, etc). Consumers or users of other services such as zoos, museums, transit, and libraries should pay for those services. If no businesses pay property taxes in Michigan, we would experience an economic boom. Existing businesses would expand, new businesses would come and more importantly, the labor needed for those businesses will flock to Michigan. Products and services will be less expensive and more competitive in the marketplace.
The proposal to eliminate property taxes will also provide means to replace lost revenue to the townships and counties. It will NOT replace the lost revenue to the state's school aid fund. Our governor has already signed into effect a new, larger budget that will provide more school aid. The ballot proposal to eliminate property taxes is a chance for the people of Michigan to say NO MORE!!. We cannot afford higher property taxes and we absolutely cannot afford to lose our homes, businesses, and farms. This is entirely in our hands... we must fund the initiative, gather signatures, and go out and vote. We do not need the majority in the house or the governor's blessing. It is up to us to stop the seizures and homelessness!
Learn more at AxeMItax.org