Thinking they could send an anti-tax message ahead of this year's midterm election, the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity shoveled nearly $6,000 into Grand Rapids and tried to deceive people into opposing investment in infrastructure.
As it turns out, Grand Rapids had a message for the Koch Brothers.
Harsh winter weather has long left Michigan with some of the worst roads in the country. This past winter has been even more brutal than normal. Despite that, Michigan ranks dead-last - 50th out of 50 - in per-person road funding.
Grand Rapids has a city income tax; in 2010 voters increased the income tax from 1.3% to 1.5% to keep essential services covered through the recession. The tax was set to revert back to 1.3% next year; however, city leaders proposed extending it through 2030 to cover road work.
Take note of that - employees wouldn't be paying higher taxes than they have been for the past few years; rather, they'd pay the same amount through the end of next decade to ensure that they don't have to keep spending time and money getting their vehicles fixed.
But the Koch Brothers thought they could pull one over on the people of Grand Rapids.
They used their typical trickery language to try to confuse voters. They called it a "tax increase" when it wasn't. They said it was a "bailout." They attacked Grand Rapids's outstanding city leaders. (GR is one of the best-run cities in the area - and they have progressive leadership.)
You can't fool Grand Rapidians.
Today, almost 2/3 of Grand Rapids voters voted to keep the tax at 1.5% so area roads can be, you know... navigable.
That $6,000 they spent trying to fool people? Wasted.
The Koch Brothers' attempt at sending an anti-tax message in this election year? Failed.
Instead, it was Grand Rapids that sent the Koch brothers a message: We need infrastructure. We need taxes.
We the People need - and want - our government to work.
And we're not going to let a bunch of billionaires buy our elections!