The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Blatantly Taxing Working People to Provide Breaks to the Wealthy

Apr 24, 2006

Under the guise that it has no money, the city of Detroit, like other cities, is instituting a fee for residential garbage pickup–$300 per year. Detroit, though, is being right up front about who’s benefitting from the new tax.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s latest budget includes the elimination of a 3 mil property tax which used to pay for trash pickup, right alongside the new fee, which replaces it. The difference in the fees is that the property tax hits higher on those with high-priced homes, while everyone pays the same fee under the new plan.

For example, Detroit assesses taxes on homes at 50% of their market value. Someone with a home valued at $200,000 would pay the 3 mil tax on $100,000. That comes to around $300. But many Detroit homes have a value of much less than $200,000. The owner of a $60,000 home will pay the same $300, as will the owners of much more expensive homes in neighborhoods like Palmer Park or Indian Village.

Someone with a home valued at one million dollars currently pays $3,000. They get a $2,700 tax break, while poor people make up the difference.

Contrary to what some residents have been led to believe, the new fee does NOT pay for bulk trash pickup, which has been eliminated

Compared to all the attacks, $300 may seem like a little thing, but the substitution of this new tax stands as a symbol. It’s just one part of a much broader policy of giving money to the wealthy while making working people pay more for everything from water to textbooks–even fees for disabled bus riders!

The city has granted tax abatements to people moving into new houses, condos and lofts in Neighborhood Enterprise Zones. An analysis by the Detroit News showed the city is losing over 63 million dollars in taxes each year because of these breaks. The paper says that’s enough to provide 750 firefighters or teachers, fund three years of bulk trash pickup, finance the entire city lighting department for a year, or run the recently shuttered Belle Isle aquarium for 60 years!

Kilpatrick got himself re-elected by playing the city against the suburbs. But look what he is doing in the city–taxing working people and even the very poor to give money to the same wealthy class that he rails against.

Just another proof you can’t trust a politician of either party any further than you can spit!