Libraries leery of PPT Reform

geekYour Public Libraries could be in trouble this week, during “lame duck session” – The State House proposed a plan to eliminate the Personal Property Tax, (the number one source, as found by the Michigan Library Association in 2011, of revenue for libraries with dedicated voted millages).

The State Senate’s been rushing through a lot of legislation this week, with Right To Work laws for both public and private sector unions as well as bills limiting abortion and imposing stricter licensing requirements upon clinics.

PPT raises substantial revenue for local governments, including libraries, police and fire service, community colleges and local school districts.

The sticking point concerns how revenues should be replaced to continue funding essential local services. (The PPT applies a local millage rate to the value of commercial, industrial and utility equipment in a community). As of now, municipalities will be able to assess “essential services” deserving of 100% reimbursement of revenues (should the tax be eliminated) – but those services would be limited, here in Ferndale, to police and fire (excluding the library).

That’s If…PPT is eliminated.

Lansing State Journal: Michigan personal property tax reform moves forward in Legislature

This could have a substantial impact upon libraries across the nation, particularly here in Ferndale. Further concern is stirred by uncertainty over whether a replacement of the PPT is guaranteed; its possible that legislation would redirect funds from the State Use Tax… But we’ll have to see… (And we may know by the end of today or tomorrow!)

Libraries are an essential part of the community and reductions to millage revenue puts our programming and services at risk. We’re still navigating rough economic terrain – but these are the days that many people (particularly job-seekers and those without home-internet-access) are utilizing libraries the most. And…not to get too far into a sky-is-falling stir, but, there’s also potential this could shift more of the tax burden to individual taxpayers.

In the meantime: if you’d like to get involved… visit the Michigan Library Association’s main site. 

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