Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ever More Creative Ways to Kick Industrial Cities to the Ground

So. This map:


That map shows some sample cities around the state, while the circles show the percentage of revenue the labeled city gets from a tax called the Personal Property Tax.

Allegan, for example, gets 30% of its tax from the personal property tax.

What's the personal property tax? It's basically a tax on the STUFF and EQUIPMENT a business owns. For example, my wife has some display cases in her store, so she has to pay a small tax on having display cases in her store. Yes. True. But in terms of meaningful business expenses it mostly applies to manufacturing companies that have lots and lots and lost of large equipment.

So one can imagine that the cities that get the most money from this tax are mostly Industrial centers. And if that's what you think, then you would be correct. This is a huge source of revenue for working class, industrial cities.

Conversely it's a very small source of revenue for the more affluent, less industrial cities like the Grosse Pointes or the Blooomfield Hills areas.

But for some middle class industrial towns, it can make up as much as 57% of the city's revenue.

So of course...Michigan's Republican legislature is currently discussing getting rid of this tax. But don't worry! They're going to replace it with some other type of tax....but not all of it. Just 81% of it. Or that's the word so far. So instead of losing millions and millions and millions of dollars in revenue, the hard-hit industrial cities will merely be losing millions in revenue.


I'm not going to lie and say I love this tax. I'm not even going to lie and say it's entirely bad our State is going to get rid of it. The bad thing about the tax is...it's HORRIBLE for start up companies who aren't even profitable yet. But you're still pulling most of the taxation from 'em right out of the gate for owning equipment. It's a big deterrent to the very folks we want here. The new folks. The small folks.

So I'm in favor of scrapping the tax. So...Republicans: Good job. Kill that tax. Here's a pat on the back.

Now let's not be assholes about it.

Cuz getting rid of the tax without a FULL replacement targets...TARGETS the cities and people that have already been knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly for a decade. It sucks funding from cities already on the bring of collapse. It sucks funding from cities that are already closing schools and cutting police forces and watching their roads crumble.

There are perfectly reasonable ways to get rid of the Personal Property Tax, and there are Asshole ways to get rid of the Personal Property Tax. Let's do the reasonable ones. Just this one time.

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