From the Director: Personal Property Tax & Libraries

The proposal in Michigan’s Legislature to eliminate the personal property tax on businesses without a clear replacement strategy has those who provide services deemed essential by voters feeling as though we’re walking a tightrope. We’re promised a safety net by our legislators, but we can’t see one.
All libraries in Michigan are at risk. At Kent District Library, the PPT accounts for nearly 8 percent (over $1.1 million) of our operating budget. We have already cut expenses to the bone after several years of declining tax revenue.
If the PPT is not replaced, KDL will need to make significant operational cuts such as staff layoffs, cuts to the materials budget, fewer open hours and elimination of early literacy workshops and classes for job seekers (see an easy-to-read slide presentation here). These reductions come at a time when use of the library is booming — the number of items checked out from our libraries has increased by 50 percent over the last six years. More people — 3.3 million — visit KDL than any other library in Michigan except Detroit Public Library.
While I agree that the PPT is not necessarily a wise tax, the services it funds — municipalities, schools and, of course, libraries — are wise. They’re vital. These are the entities voters have regularly said are worthy of their tax dollars. These are services that keep property values steady and growing, and create vibrant communities that attract new businesses and residents.
Michigan’s public libraries are not asking for more money; we’re simply asking that we be allowed to continue to provide quality library services that meet the needs of our residents.  Please take a moment and tell your legislators you want a PPT replacement plan, and that you want libraries included.

Thank you for your continued support!

Lance Werner,
KDL Director

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Written by Lance Werner

Lance Werner

Lance Werner is the director of Kent District Library, the state’s second largest public library system. Before coming to KDL, he served as director of the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, and as Library Law Specialist at the Library of Michigan. He lives in Rockford, Michigan with his wife and four children.

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