By, Michelle Hazekamp
April 29, 2022
Update: May 3, 2020 ISD Mileage Election Results
By Benj Spencer
May 3, 2020
Thanks to all those who turned out to vote no on Tuesday, May 3, 2020 to this county-wide tax increase. Your voices prevailed, the mileage failed with 7,714 voting YES (38%) and 12,406 voting NO (62%). Voter sentiment was not to generously to pad school with redundant funding for special education programs. This is not a surprise considering two major factors: extremely high inflation, and the recent battles between Mona Shores and Whitehall school districts and students parents over CRT indoctrination.
What is surprising is the extent of bi-partisan condemnation of this mileage. Only 11 out of 71 precincts reported a majority in favor of the substantial tax hike. Not even Muskegon Heights, the most reliably liberal voters had a single precinct was for it.
Two thing are certain though: Muskegon County still has the highest effective tax rate in West Michigan, and you can bet with every election there are people working to keep it that way. We must be on our guard. Every election matters.
Can You Afford a Tax Hike?
Tuesday, May 3, 2022, thousands will head to the polls to vote on a county-wide mileage proposal that will provide additional funding to our schools for children with special needs throughout Muskegon County. At a time when we are seeing historical inflation rates and the onset of a massive recession, if passed, this proposal will add to the financial burden by increasing property taxes to every home-owner in the county. Can we afford a property tax increase at this time?
The ballet proposal requests a 10 year tax increase on the population of Muskegon County of $1.75 million dollars, whereby a home valued at $100,000.00 would see an $88.00 per year increase and a home valued at $200,000.00 will wee a $173.00 per year increase. To most, this is something that simply cannot be afforded at this time as we are paying record high gas and food prices along with food shortages, which are predicted to get worse. And if you rent, do not assume you are in the clear. Your landlord pays property taxes, and so will your rent to make up the difference. We are all currently suffering financially, so can we really afford more taxes?
Schools Get to Decide Where to Spend Funds
In an M-Live article, it states that if the proposal passes, each school has different plans on how the extra money will be used. Some schools plan to use it on infrastructure, such as remodeling and repairs, while others will use it towards curriculum upgrades and new textbooks. These funds will contribute an additional $390.00 for every student, not just special needs children and the schools will get to decide what this money will be used for. Not all of this money will be applied towards special needs kids. And further more, not one cent has to go towards special needs children.
What About the Covid Funds?
I am not against supporting special needs children, or any other children for that matter. And needed improvements on infrastructure do benefit special needs children along with upgrades to curriculum. However, as we are all suffering financially, let's reminisce to the Covid relief funding the schools received. Over the last two years, Michigan was granted over $6 billion in Covid Relief funding from the Cares Act along with its fair share of the $120 billion coming from the American Rescue Plan signed into law by the Biden administration on March 11, 2021, dispersed over a 10 year period. $3 billion was allocated for children with special needs and disabilities. The Covid relief packages have minor restrictions as to what the schools can use the money for, and the funds can be used for nearly anything including infrastructure, as long as each school submitted a plan on how they would implement Covid safety standards upon returning to in-person learning. With all this "extra" money from the Covid relief packages, why is there a need for additional funding at all?
Is This Potentially Funding CRT?
We are also in the midst of the battle against Critical Race Theory and the indoctrination of our kids. Parents from at least two school districts here in Muskegon County have been up against the leftist CRT curriculum since the discovery just 1 year ago. If it is not already in your school district, it will be if the Liberal Democrats get their way. Is this really the time to hand more money to our public school system when we are uncertain how safe our schools really are? How much of these funds will go towards inappropriate curriculum? And how can we be sure at this time that curriculum upgrades and new textbooks are not going to be an upgrade to CRT? How confident are you in our schools right now?
Additional Proceeds from Marijuana Dispensaries
Michigan also received $42 million dollars in proceeds last year from the marijuana dispensaries that we have allowed to infiltrate our communities. Muskegon alone received $677,441.28 in proceeds. 35% of proceeds, according to Michigan law, goes to the school aid fund for K-12 education. That amounts to an additional $237,104.35 dispersed between Muskegon County schools in 2021. When divided amongst the 11 school districts here in Muskegon County, it gave an additional $21,554.94 dollars per school, (if proceeds are not also going to charter and private schools). I know this is a miniscule amount, but it's still extra funds that did not exist a few years ago.
Let's Be Realistic
The reality is, we don't need this extra burden right now with the economy in shambles and people scraping for gas money just to get to work everyday. We are also in the middle of an educational crisis in our public schools in regards to CRT and inappropriate sex education that is being inflicted upon our kids as young as five years old.
You can look at a sample ballot for Tuesday's election by clicking here. This information is for you to take into consideration before making your final decision in Tuesday's election. Research and consider the impact on our communities before you vote on Tuesday!
Michelle Hazekamp is a Muskegon County business owner, a Precinct Delegate and a candidate for Muskegon County Commissioner. She is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a bachelorette in Science and a minor in History.