GR tax extension proposal appeals over

Cold patch is used to fill a pothole in Grand Rapids. (Feb. 25, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state appeals court has denied further consideration of a ruling that OK’d a May ballot issue to extend a Grand Rapids income tax increase.

The Grand Rapids Taxpayers Alliance — which opposes the measure that would fund road repairs — filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the city missed a deadline to have the ballot language certified by the county clerk. Last week, a judge decided that the city did not have to get the language approved.

Friday, the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Alliance’s appeal, saying the group did not have standing to challenge the legality of the ballot question.

Monday, the court denied a request for reconsideration.

Jeff Steinport, the attorney for the Taxpayers Alliance, told 24 Hour News 8 that the group has decided not to appeal the decision further and will instead focus on efforts to defeat the issue at the polls.

The May 6 ballot question will ask Grand Rapids voters to approve a 15-year extension to a income tax increase to pay for road repairs. The initial increase, which was set to run out in 2015, was passed to pay for programs to improve efficiency in city departments.

The Taxpayers Association says the tax increase was supposed to be temporary and want it to expire so tax rates will fall. Opponents also say the May special election was scheduling tactic designed to take advantage of low voter turnout. The theory, supporters turn out in heavy numbers and those who may oppose stay home because there’s nothing else on the ballot.

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