Ballot Language for Proposal 1:
Shall the 15 mill limitation on General Ad Valorem taxes within the County of Lenawee imposed under Article IX, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution be increased by .28 mills ($.28 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of four (4) years, 2011 through 2014 inclusive, for the purpose of providing services to promote economic development and job creation in Lenawee County and shall the County levy such millage for the said purpose during such period, which increase shall raise in the first year of levy an estimated $882,964.
- All revenue will go to Lenawee County for the purpose of economic development.
- All money will serve Lenawee County.
- If approved, over the four-year life of this millage, more than $3,500,000 may be removed from the County’s private sector and be put into the hands of government. This will be in addition to the 15 mill property tax already in effect.
- There are no guarantees that any jobs will be created.
- Currently, the County hires the non-profit Lenawee Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) to promote economic development within the County. Funding for this activity has been eliminated from the County’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year. Look at www.onelenawee.org to learn about LEDC contributors, board members, executives, and activities.
- LEDC receives its funding through its contract with Lenawee County, from the business community, from state and federal grants, and from taxpayer-supported government entity contributors (townships, cities, villages, school districts, and other agencies within the County).
Things to think about:
- What is the LEDC’s return on investment?
- What oversight measures will the County Commissioners use to monitor and evaluate any economic development efforts?
- Considering that it is almost impossible to eliminate any tax once imposed, when and how will those efforts be judged sufficient to terminate the tax?
- What are County Commissioners and local governmental units doing to create an economic environment that will be favorable to business expansion? Reducing taxes? Eliminating unfavorable regulations?
- What will increased property taxes mean to your business’s profit situation?
- On what will the money be spent? Marketing Lenawee County? Education of potential entrepreneurs? Helping to fund new business ventures? Who will make these decisions?
- If our economic situation is the most critical aspect of the County’s on-going viability, why aren’t less critical programs being eliminated to permit support of economic development without an additional property tax?
- Is it the task of government to promote economic development, or create jobs?
BE SURE TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 8
Thanks to the Lenawee 9.12 Forum in Adrian for the above information. An information sheet was made available to Forum participants at the October 13 meeting.
My Questions and Facts:
Did they frame the proposal as a “jobs” initiative because that was the best bet to get a millage increase from the voters?
Steven Malanga is a contributing editor to City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, which publishes City Journal. His primary area of focus is economic development. In 2005 Mr. Malanga wrote this article about America’s Worst Urban Program. “Urban aid can do little in cities whose own policies are hostile to real economic development, a key reason that the block-grant program has wasted so much money. Like Los Angeles, Buffalo has received huge infusions of federal urban aid—more than half a billion dollars in community-development block-grant money alone in 30 years. If this kind of urban aid truly worked, Buffalo would be a shining star in the economic-development constellation because it has gotten more block-grant money per capita than any other U.S. city.” (Editor’s Note: The November 8 proposal is urban aid under the title of Economic Development.
The Role of Small and Large Businesses in Economic Development by Kelly Edmiston (a senior economist in Community Affairs at the Federal Reserve
Bank of Kansas City. This article is on the bank’s website at http://www.KansasCityFed.org), “Increasingly, economic development experts are abandoning traditional approaches to economic development that rely on recruiting large enterprises with tax breaks, financial incentives, and other inducements. Instead, they are relying on building businesses from the ground up and supporting the growth of existing enterprises.”
From the Department of You Can’t be Serious, Michael Lafaive writes, “If state economic development programs must exist at all, their success or failure must be reviewed in a way that provides policymakers and others with the credible, reliable information. Developing a dispassionate framework for program reviews and publicizing the results might help citizens come to grips with just how wasteful these programs are. ”
Last, But Not Least
In an article written by Tom Gantert, there’s this gem about the MEDC. An ‘Expensive Game’ Providing the ‘Illusion of Creating Jobs’ Gantert writes, “In 2008, the newly built Pinnacle Race Course in Huron Township was eligible for more than $48 million in tax incentives over 30 years. The MEDC trumpeted this project as “the beginning of a world-class commercial and industrial complex and transportation hub that will mark the entry of western Wayne County into the global economy.”
But today, county officials say the track has liens on it and has unpaid property taxes for 2009 and 2010. One horse racing organization says it has given more than $1 million to keep it operating.”
If these aren’t valuable arguments for saving our money and focus on what Michigan really needs to do to be an attractive place to do business, the only other thing I can say is; if our government officials and bureaucrats lobbied just as hard to address the root of the problem as they do with separating us with our money, we would have something good. In case you didn’t know, here are a couple of examples how Michigan and Michigan Counties stand in the way of economic development. Commentary: Recommendations for Gov. Snyder’s Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee and What does the Ave Maria School of Law have to do with a new tax hike?
I recommend not only voting on November 8, but voting NO, we shall not disregard the Michigan Constitution and increase Michigan’s debt ceiling! We want our legislators to stop playing games, focus on the real problems and work within their allotted budget!