Interestingly enough, when I tried to find some generic clip art to jazz up this post, all the art related to taxes was extremely negative . . . depictions of depressed people being pickpocketed by Uncle Sam or shaken upside-down with cash falling from their pockets. Which only goes to show that nobody likes taxes. We don't like talking about them, and we don't like paying them.
But for once, I have something positive to say about property taxes (and the politicians who create them). When the Ionia County libraries passed our millage renewal this past August, you may have noticed a section of the ballot mentioning that the City of Portland DDA was entitled to a portion of the money we collected. This is called a tax capture, because they capture part of the taxes that a group levies. At the time of our millage renewal, a library could only opt-out of giving money to a DDA--or Downtown Development Authority--when the DDA was forming. Here in Portland, that was decades ago . . . years before we even had an operational millage.
However, in January of this year, the governor signed PA 505-510, which allows libraries to opt out of the DDA tax capture if any one of the following exists:
- The DDA extends its financial plan or changes its borders
- The millage is passed after the bill was signed
- The DDA does not have any outstanding debt
Of course, I want to be clear about the fact that I don't have anything against the Portland DDA. I am, after all, a member of their board. All my time at the library is spent trying to make Portland an even better place for all the people who live here, and one way to do that is to improve the areas that get the most use. So I don't want to say that the DDA shouldn't be funded. I'm just so grateful for the support that the voters of Portland showed to the library this past summer, and I'm overjoyed to be able to say that 100% of the property taxes collected from the millage will now come to the library.