Skubick: House measure to combine August primary and May election could increase taxes on Michiganders

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Michigan House just passed a measure to consolidate the August primary and the May election into one election held in June, but as 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick reports, that could produce a back door tax increase on local taxpayers.

“Not only will it cost taxpayers more money it could cause school districts to see operational money cut,” said Don Wotruba, former director of Michigan School Boards.

In other words, the election consolidation bill pushed by Rep. Julie Calley could have a double negative whammy on your school district.

Schools sell bonds to fund construction projects, but if the citizens vote no, schools would have to wait six months to sell the bonds. And, in the meantime, they may have missed the window to get the best bond rate – thus costing taxpayers more money.

“You need to sell bonds at the best rate that you can. This is saving taxpayers money, or it can cost them more, depending on what rate you get.,” said Wotruba.

“If the timing of the election forces you into a bad sale time, it’s going to cost more money.”

In addition, local school boards might not be able to collect a local tax that it needs to operate the schools, which could push the districts into a deficit for lack of revenue.

Skubick: “Changing school elections could impact a local school budget?”

Wotruba: “Absolutely.”

Skubick: “Could it be a negative?”

Wotruba: “Yes.”

Skubick: “So it could push schools into red ink?

Wotruba: “It absolutely could.”

That’s why Rep. Calley is talking to the school boards about changing the election measure to make sure it doesn’t hurt the schools or its taxpayers.  

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