Benton Harbor Mayor Talks Income Tax

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says something must be done to deal with the city’s crumbling streets, and his suggestion is voters approve a new city income tax. A tax of 1% for residents and 0.5% for non-residents who work in the city will appear on next month’s ballot. Muhammad tells WSJM News the city comes nowhere close to generating enough revenue to fix streets, alleys, and sidewalks as things stand now.

“It’s absolutely imperative that we come out of the 80s and the 90s and ocme into the 21st Century as it pertains to maintaining and fixing streets,” Muhammad said.

There is a group actively opposing the tax, and we have reached out to them. Mayor Muhammad says the issue is simple.

“It’s simple,” Muhammad said. “If the residents want the streets, the alleys, and the sidewalks fixed, they vote yes. If they don’t want the streets, the alleys, and the sidewalks fixed, they vote no.”

The city gets most of its current road funding from the state, but Muhammad says that’s not for local streets where people live. Muhammad tells us the city manager has estimated Benton Harbor gets about $1 million less per year than it needs to properly maintain its streets. It is estimated about $2 million per year could be generated with the tax. An 2013 attempt to pursue such a tax failed, but Muhammad says it was by a razor thin margin. The vote in Benton Harbor will be November 7.