There has been growing talk among some city council candidates and others in the community to eliminate the city’s income tax.
There are 23 communities in the state that have such a tax. In Hamtramck, it brings in $2.2 million a year – which is a significant chunk of change, considering that the city’s annual budget is about $16 million.
While the collection is a major revenue source, it doesn’t really hit most folks that hard on their yearly income.
For those living here, the income tax is set at 1 percent. For those who work here, but don’t live in the city, it’s a mere ½ percent.
The argument for eliminating it is based on the notion that by doing so, it will somehow how spur economic development.
Even if that could be proven, it would have to basically happen overnight to offset the loss of $2.2 million a year.
The talk of wiping away the income tax is reckless and ignorant. Only folks who have no idea just how tight our city budget is would be behind this proposal.
As it stands now, the city is in deficit spending mode, and it threatens to erode our $5 million budget surplus a few years.
Add to that, the city is going to be losing about $800,000 a year when GM’s Poletown plant closes, starting in January.
And, the federal SAFER grant that pays the salaries for 12 firefighters also just went away.
We find it ironic that some of the folks who want to do away with the income tax are against allowing medical and recreational marijuana sales in town.
Allowing this legal sale of marijuana would allow Hamtramck to tap into monies the state will collect in sales taxes and other fees.
The naysayers argue that allowing marijuana sales – even if the sales locations were confined to remote parts of the city – would somehow influence children.
Or worse, yet, kids would be able to get their hands on pot.
Well, we have liquor stores and a dozen or so pharmacies that sell controlled substances, and there hasn’t been a noticeable effect on our youth.
Hamtramck needs more money, not less, if it wants to remain financially sound.
What we would like to hear from candidates are actual, workable plans to bring in more revenue.
July 26, 2019