The Kent County Taxpayers Alliance, opponents of the proposed Silver Line, celebrated the defeat of the Silver Line Tuesday night. The defeat is the second straight tax increase that the group claims credit in helping defeat. Their most recent campaign was the second GRCC millage request in August of 2007. The organization’s self-described mission is to promote good government and a rational tax policy.
Throughout the campaign, KCTA volunteers passed out literature to thousands of households over the metro Grand Rapids area, wrote letters to the editor, and organized on the internet. Targeted precincts in many of the cities voting helped turn out more voters than in May of 2007 (the last Rapid vote) with a significantly higher ‘no’ vote percentage. Despite spending a mere fraction of the Friends of Transit, who received a gift from one donor of $50-80,000, they managed to create a palpable impact expressed best on the Facebook online message board of the Friends of Transit where they described KCTA’s “presence (being) felt electronically and we’re getting pummeled.”
Said KCTA spokesman Eric Larson, “Tuesday was a great night for property owners across Kent County. For the first time, the Rapid lost a millage request. The Silver Line was rightly seen by taxpayers as a redundant service that traveled no faster than their current buses but carried a steep price tag in a bad economy. Clearly, this plan was rejected in very high numbers by the cities of Wyoming, Walker, Grandville, and Kentwood to a lesser degree. Fundamentally, we think it is incumbent upon those city governments to reconsider their role in this ITP taxing authority. Despite their overwhelming opposition, the city of Grand Rapids still almost forced them to pay a tax that Grandville and Walker would get absolutely no benefit from. This is a dangerous path that the ITP board is traveling where these suburban cities are getting taxed without representation.
“KCTA is pleased with the results but wants to emphasize that our work has only begun. We are not solely an anti-millage group. We will work in the near future on improving governmental accountability and transparency at the Rapid and through the local school districts as well. It is the taxpayers’ right to know where and how the government spends its money and we intend to make that easier over the coming year.”