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County Commissioner: DIA Millage is 'Another Brick in the Wall Against Family'

Oakland County Commissioner Robert Gosselin and three other panelists discussed the upcoming DIA millage request Thursday evening at the Troy Community Center.

While some are and lobbying for approval of a , a less vocal group is pushing against the tax increase, including a four-man panel that met to discuss and answer questions about the proposed millage Thursday evening at the .

, the panel discussion featured Bruce Walker of MichiganView.com, Rep. Tom McMillin, County Commissioner Robert Gosselin, and Simon Haddad of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance.

Roughly 30 people – including Troy Mayor Janice Daniels and 41st District State Representative candidate Martin Howrylak – attended the event, which aimed to explain why the proposed millage should be voted down.

"Normally, I would’ve just opposed the DIA tax based on philosophical grounds, but when I started seeing the ads saying they’d have to close their doors ... I said, that’s it," McMillin said. "That day, I put together a press release and looked at their financials."

McMillin, who spoke first Thursday night and has been a very vocal opponent of the DIA millage proposal, said he has crunched the DIA's numbers, and they don't add up.

"For the last two years, they’ve increased their net worth by 50 million dollars," he said, holding up a handmade sign to illustrate his point. "It’s pretty rare. I would argue they’ve done a pretty good job.”

While McMillin argued the necessity of the millage request, Gosselin said he is concerned how the tax will affect the future generation of taxpayers.

“A lot of it is stress on the children. You’re hurting the children. ... $15 here, $20 there ... it starts adding up," Gosselin said. "This is just another brick in the wall against family."

Gosselin said he believes residents in Oakland County are taxed enough, and an additional tax like the DIA millage places unnecessary stress on residents.

“I look at this as another tax, another thing where government is growing bigger ... and we’re in an area where we’re depressed," he said. "People are losing their homes, their jobs – now the government wants more money.”

While some of the panelists questioned the , Walker called it "a terrific institution staffed by terrific individuals filled with terrific artwork" and said he enjoys visiting.

However, he said, "My enjoyment should not be out of your paycheck."

Proponents of the DIA millage have argued additional operating revenue for a decade is needed to avoid reducing the current DIA public access of 36 hours over five days each week. "An operating endowment of $72 million provides funding for approximately 20 percent of annual operations," millage campaign spokesman Bob Berg .

A representative from the DIA was not invited to Thursday's panel discussion, Tietz said. Calls from Patch to the DIA seeking comment were not immediately returned Friday morning.

The millage request will be on ballots in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties on Aug. 7. A levy of 0.2 mills means property owners would pay $10 for every $100,000 of taxable value shown on municipal tax statements.

Daffy Noodnicks July 29, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Using Cleveland here is a huge red herring. It is 2 hours away from Toledo. The DIA is MUCH closer to Toledo. And the collection the DIA has is not comparable to Toledo in any way. Comparing metro areas served between Detroit and Toledo is an even bigger joke.
Linda July 30, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Based on prior activities, the word honest is not even in some of these guys vocabulary.
Lianne Mathie July 30, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Daryl, I think my point is very clear regarding Tom McMillian and his repeated rhetoric,as a person,he has shown little ability to lead in cost reforms in Lansing. For someone to continue to rail against perks for unions while enjoying those very perks smacks of hypocrisy. My question to you would be, why is Tom only privy to these figure? hmmm? It was a closed forum. He presented only his side. While I provided links to various sources, I'm rather surprised you chose to disregard Crain's Detroit view point on this millage.I feel we cannot compete with cities like Chicago without our cultural institutions intact. Again, at the risk of repeating myself are those links. http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20120708/SUB01/307089967/keith-crain-time-to-be-responsible-and-vote-for-dia http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/07/23/news/doc500d992f2eecb306036728.txt?viewmode=fullstory That being said,I respect your point of view, however I will continue to support the creative thinking that made Detroit and Oakland County the powerhouses they are.While I reside in a modest bungalow that serves my every need, I never have asked for more then I have given to my community.In your words, shared sacrifice.Keeping our communities strong is all of our responsibilities.This is not a communist,marxist or leftist ideal, it is simply human and a reasonable request.
Mark K July 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM
This is also something I find wrong with it. The amount coming from each county. All of these numbers are provided by the DIA. The millage expected to be raised from each county... Oakland $10 million Wayne $8 million Macomb $5 million Now, the museum averages 400,000 per year. 32% from Wayne 19% from Oakland 10% from Macomb 19% of the visitors are from Oakland, but funding of 43% of the $23 Million. Oakland county - Vote NO.
Patricia August 01, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Couldn't agree with you more--The DIA needs to look at the TMA and use that for a model. You are correct on the market size and the competition-of which the DIA has none. One needs to ask- what is really going on with the DIA in management, spending, and planning. The TMA serves the public so much better than the DIA. Thank you "No Dia Tax" for bringing these valuable but overlooked facts forward.

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