By Deb Bose
The Michigan House and Senate will be considering an additional $1.3 billion tax cut for Michigan businesses after the November election by eliminating something called the Personal Property Tax (PPT), a tax paid only by businesses. This tax funds local government activities such as municipalities, police, fire and libraries. $30 million of this revenue goes to public libraries statewide with $3.8 million collectively to Lakeland Library Cooperative’s 41 libraries in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa counties.
From 2000 to 2012 state aid to public libraries has been reduced from $15 million to $6.2 million. Last year the libraries in the Lakeland Library Cooperative collectively lost $668,066 in the removal of Renaissance Zone exemption funds. In FY2012-2013 the state budget returned only 50 percent of this funding.
Losing this additional PPT money will result in reductions to library hours, new collection purchases, curtailing library services and in some instance libraries will close in the eight-county Lakeland area.
The library community is not opposed to eliminating the PPT, but a full replacement of these funds is necessary to maintain current levels of service. Libraries are urging citizens to contact their legislators to ask for a guaranteed full replacement of the personal property tax if it is repealed for libraries.
Deb Bose is board president of the Lakeland Library Cooperative, which includes Flat River Community Library, Alvah N. Belding Memorial Library and the Carson City Public Library.
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