2007-09-13 / Opinion

Astounded To See Millage Sought Again

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Amy Polk's September 6 article concerning school superintendent Pete Everson's news release announcing to the taxpayers of the Eastern U.P. that we are going to have yet another election regarding a proposed 0.75 mill increase in school taxes. This proposal was rejected by the voters only just this past May. I was totally astounded by what I was reading. What part of "No" doesn't Mr. Everson understand? The taxpayers have given and given, quite past the point where there's absolutely nothing more to give. Period. Does anyone out there know what Mr. Everson's salary is?

I'm 75 years old and my sole income is a small Social Security check each month. I recently finished building my own home with my own two hands. It took me six years, but now that it's finished, I can't afford to pay the taxes. I have bladder cancer and diabetes, among other things. Just like everyone else, if I won't, or can't, pay my taxes, they will eventually take my home.

I think we need to pause and take a fresh new look at what has crept up on us. We need to take a closer look at the outrageous salaries of our elected officials, and let us not forget about their benefits, health care being a big one. How many taxpayers are paying health care for their elected officials but can't afford health care for themselves? As for me, I would like to know how many of my Social Security dollars are going to pay for the retirement pensions of school teachers, police officers, and firemen, who also qualify to collect Social Security. Do any of us really know where our tax dollars are going? I think it's time to do something. Things have gotten completely out of control. I can remember when property taxes were really not a big thing, and were paid once each year. Now they have us paying twice each year, and if the trend continues, they will soon have us paying every month.

I commend those who have fought for and won the "Homestead Exclusion" and "Proposal A" (Save our Homes), but now the bureaucrats are trying to circumvent the "spirit" of Proposal A (Save our Homes). No, folks, the wolf is at the door. Our homes are a sacred place and must be defended, with our lives, if necessary. There is no way in which to keep the bureaucrats honest, and they will always want more money for something. Therefore, I propose that we completely abolish all confiscatory taxes. They are archaic, barbarian, un-democratic, and highly un-American, and must go.

I'm all for seeing that our children receive the best possible education that we can afford to give them, so the money must come from somewhere. I propose replacing confiscatory property taxes with an increase in state sales tax, to whatever percent is needed, possibly to 10% or 12%. I know this is a radical new approach toward solving an age-old problem. It's a trade-off, and I believe fair and equitable to everyone, rich and poor alike. There are probably downsides to what I am proposing, but nothing is completely fair. The state sales tax bureaucracy is already in place and is currently supplying nearly 50% of our school funds anyway. It need only to adjust itself to providing funds for other county needs other than for schools, because the abolishment of confiscatory property taxes must be total, otherwise they will creep back up again. In fact, the local bureaucracy currently devoted to the collection and disbursement of confiscatory property taxes would need to be eliminated or reassigned.

Just think, no more holding your home hostage if you won't, or can't, pay your taxes. What I like about the sales tax trade-off is that it's based on "free will." In other words, if you can't afford to pay the sales tax, "don't buy it." Food and medication would continue to be exempt so as not to create a hardship for anyone. Think about it.

Let's do something. If you agree with me, at least in principle, please contact your state representative, Rep. Gary McDowell, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909. Telephone: (517) 373-2629. Fax: (517) 373-8429. Email: garymcdowell@house.mi.gov.

Remember, the home you save may be your own.

Richard Wagner

St. Ignace

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