General George a.k.a. G.R. Mayor Heartwell, with a wink and nod from City Manager Kurt Kimball, wants to raise your taxes to bail the city government out of its fiscal mess. His big complaint is that the State of Michigan no longer subsidizes the city's budget. True enough. The taxes the state collected from us on the pretext that it would redistribute them to municipalities like River City now go to alleviate the state government of its own fiscal woes. (But when the crunch came, did you really expect honor among thieves, folks?)
However, the primary services of the city were never dependent upon that annual subsidy from Michigan taxpayers, which mostly went to fatten executive staffs, bloat employee benefits, and pork up hand-outs to the most vocal and connected special interests. Of course, now that the gravy train has stopped, the insiders still keep most of what they got during the city's go-go days. Instead, Heartwell and Kimball have decided to hold the city's primary services hostage until the ordinary residents and workers of Grand Rapids cough up more taxes to them.
Meanwhile, City Commissioner Rick Tormala reminds us that in addition to leaving a lot of fat in the city budget, Heartwell and Kimball are still sitting on a big pile of cash and want to add more to the city's savings account. Why? Tormala hasn't offered an opinion, but the money has gotta come from somewhere to fund Heartwell's hippy-dippy fantasies of subsidizing corporations that fit into the environmentalist agenda of the Technology Sustainability Advisory Council. In other words, Heartwell wants the residents, workers, and businesses that he doesn't care for (i.e, socially undesirable elements) to pay the way for the ones who conform to his progressive ideology.
Fortunately, Heartwellistas are hard to find, so I don't expect General George's revolucion to overtake River City anytime soon. However, that doesn't mean he won't try to bank your tax dollars to build up a warchest in the meantime while trying to fill the gap by conning you into paying more taxes to cover primary services. That's the real problem. There is no need for new taxes while there remains fat to cut out of the budget and savings to spend.