Wyoming voters will decide to cut property taxes and pass income tax
WYOMING, MI – Wyoming is proposing to cut its property tax in half, but pass an income tax as part of a measure that would allow the city to hire 27 more firefighters, 13 more police officers and invest more in parks.
City officials say the change would generate $6 million in additional revenue per year. Residents will be asked two questions in the ballot on Tuesday, May 3 to provide the funding.
For the most part, landlords would benefit more from the move than renters and people who live outside Wyoming but work in the city, since they were previously not taxed by the municipality.
On Tuesday, April 19, Wyoming residents will be able to attend the city’s final public briefing on the two ballot proposals which generally ask for the following:
- If city leaders approve and levy a city income tax, would you like to lower the maximum property tax mileage it can levy to no more than 7,545 mills effective July 1, then further limited to no more than 5.0 mills from 1 January 2023?
- Should the city be able to levy income tax of up to 1% for residents and up to 0.5% for non-residents who work in the city from January 1, 2023?
If residents passed the income tax, Wyoming would be the third city in Kent County to levy a local income tax. The others are Grand Rapids and Walker.
The briefing — the city’s seventh on the tax proposals — begins at 6 p.m. at the Wyoming branch of the Kent District Library, 3350 Michael Ave. SW. People can also read more about the proposals here.
Wyoming officials say the proposed tax restructuring would benefit the city in three ways.
This would provide more funding for public safety and parks; make the city more financially viable by diversifying its sources of income; and reduce the overall tax burden on Wyoming residents and businesses.
Currently, the city levies a property tax of 11.8 thousandths. For a house with a market value of $200,000 and a taxable value of $100,000, the current mileage equates to approximately $1,180 in taxes each year.
At the proposed mileage limit of 5 mills, that same owner would pay approximately $500 in taxes each year.
If voters reject the proposals, Wyoming officials say the alternative is to raise the city’s property taxes by another 2.5 million.
While the second-ballot proposal would allow Wyoming to levy income tax of up to 1% on corporations and residents and up to 0.5% on nonresidents who work in the city, City leaders say they would likely only levy up to 0.8% on income. tax on residents and 0.4% on non-residents.
For someone earning $60,000 a year and living in Wyoming, income tax translates to about $464 a year. For someone who lives out of town and earns the same amount, income tax translates to about $232 per year.
Grand Rapids has an income tax of 1.5% for residents and 0.75% for those who live outside the city but work there. Walker’s income tax is 1% for residents and 0.5% for those who live outside the city but work there.
Wyoming officials say the tax proposal has a number of benefits for the city and its departments.
The approximately $6 million in additional revenue each year would allow the city to hire 27 more firefighters, 13 more police officers and a crime analyst.
Approximately $3.3 million per year would allow the fire department to hire additional personnel, which would increase the number of firefighters on each shift, reduce response times, reduce reliance on other communities and would staff the four fire stations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
About $2.1 million each year would go to police hires, which would increase the number of officers on each shift, give officers time for proactive activities such as traffic enforcement and neighborhood patrols and other data-driven decision-making.
The remaining $600,000 each year would go towards capital investments in Wyoming’s parks, helping to maintain the parks system and fully funding the parks capital plan.
The tax proposals would significantly alter the city’s sources of revenue.
Currently, the majority of revenues, approximately 64%, come from property taxes. If an income tax is passed and property taxes are reduced, income taxes would be about 48% of revenue and property taxes would be about 22% of revenue.
“By adding an income tax, we can add another source of revenue, protecting the city from the adverse effects of further housing price declines,” city officials said.
City officials also say the shift to income tax revenue supports long-term growth and spending flexibility.
10 Top Michigan Teachers Named Finalists for Teacher of the Year
Teen shot in car in southeast Grand Rapids
Muskegon County website ‘refresh’ aims to improve public access to information