Shaker Heights Taxpayer Union Reacts to Issue 1 Passage
Mark Zetzer says group will remain to educate residents on how government can cut costs
After months of speaking out against the city's income tax increase, the Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union faced defeat Tuesday night when voters approved Issue 1 64 percent to 36 percent.
Since the 28-member group's "Vote No" campaign seemed to be a factor through late voting hours on Election Day, President Mark Zetzer was disappointed with the lopsided outcome.
"We think we did make an impact," he said. "We still think it's unnecessary, this tax hike. We think it's going to cause more businesses to leave and people to avoid our city."
The SHTU's campaign included a parody of the city's logo and was highlighted by a lawsuit over its use and a debate with Mayor Earl Leiken on a local radio show. Zetzer maintains the same concerns he's always had about the 0.5 percent increase that is expected to yield $6 million for the city to replace anticipated losses from state aid.
"It's a short-term solution," he said. "What if revenues don't pan out the way they think? What if the economy gets worse and property values continue to decline and they're not collecting property tax revenues as much?
"It's about changing the way they operate the city."
Zetzer said his group is now a nonprofit organization and will focus its efforts on educating residents and encouraging the city to grow its tax base.
"We're going to remain," Zetzer said. "We think we have a big job ahead of us to educate residents and voters about how the city and public school system can cut costs, control taxes and grow revenues by growing the tax base instead of just endlessly raising taxes all the time.
"We want to educate."