OPINION: The myth of tax flight from Ypsilanti - an unsafe city, not higher taxes will drive people away
I moved to Ypsilanti in 2008. I moved here because it has something I could not find just anywhere - historic homes, in good condition, which are affordable. It has houses that are comparable to the most sought after neighborhoods in Ann Arbor at a fraction of the price.
In fact, Ypsilanti has a lot of things that you can’t find just anywhere: gorgeous older neighborhoods with mature trees and extraordinary gardens, housing that is within walking/biking distance of EMU, Depot Town and Downtown, easy public transit, and just a generally welcoming and interesting community.
Some people are afraid that higher taxes will cause people to move out of Ypsilanti or avoid ever coming here. They are wrong. People look at many issues ahead of tax rates before choosing where to put down roots or build a business. They consider quality of life factors: safety, walk-ability / transportation, arts, culture, housing stock, neighborhood characteristics. They also look at things that they cannot get in the surrounding communities: proximity to employment and the university, a viable downtown, great neighborhoods in which to settle. When a city is no longer safe, with neighborhoods on guard due to crime, windows with bars and homes prominently displaying their security systems, then people move out or avoid ever coming here in the first place. When it costs too much to insure a home or car because insurance companies have to pay claims due to theft, vandalism, inadequate fire protection and inadequate police protection, then people move or avoid coming to the city.
When parents hesitate to let their college-bound children come to school at EMU because it doesn’t seem safe or clean or attractive in Ypsilanti, and when young families or senior citizens decide that the affordable housing isn’t worth the risk or the hassle to live here, then people move or avoid coming here in the first place. I am voting YES on BOTH proposals because I know that quality of life in a city is what really makes the difference in whether people decide to flee or not. Public safety, city services and infrastructure maintenance will be deciding factors for people coming to or staying in the city.
The reality is that without passing these measures, our city’s quality of life will deteriorate rapidly. That is what will cause the flight. Those of us who can afford to leave will leave. Those of us who cannot leave will suffer. Please join me in voting YES on BOTH proposals on May 8.