Michigan District Raises Taxes Without Voter Approval

Michigan District Raises Taxes Without Voter Approval
January 24, 2013

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann (jpullmann@heartland.org) is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)
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Michigan property owners in Oceana County are paying more in taxes thanks to a school district merger the two districts approved without a public vote. Taxpayers in Oceana will now have to pay the higher millage rate assessed in Mason-Lake Intermediate School District. According to the Oceana County treasurer, this will cost Oceana County property owners an extra $1 million a year.

And the merger is not saving the districts money. Instead, the districts will spend approximately an additional $103,000 per year, because the accepting district has a more expensive union contract. 

Taxpayers also do not get to choose school board members of the new merged school district. Schools the district oversees elect the board that oversees them. 

The merging district did hold a public meeting--the same night the merger went into effect. 

Eight other Michigan districts have the ability to do the same thing under a little-known provision of state law.

Video courtesy of the Mackinac Institute for Public Policy.

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann (jpullmann@heartland.org) is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)