GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A group of priests, pastors and rabbis says it's almost a religious duty for people of faith to approve a tax increase for expanded bus service in the Grand Rapids area.
If you believe in the Bible, Father Mike Przybysz says, you should vote "yes" for the 31% tax increase The Rapid is requesting.
"The Scriptures, Old Testament, New Testament, say we are supposed to help those in need," says Father Przybysz. "This is a way for us to reach out to those on the fringes of society."
Next month, officials with The Rapid will ask voters to approve higher property taxes to increase bus frequency, add more evening and weekend service, and operate an exclusive bus line along Division Avenue they will call "The Silver Line."
"It's an excellent plan," says Father Przybysz. "A wonderful example of how we can put our faith into motion."
"Kent County Families For Fiscal Responsibility" is a group organizing opposition to the property tax increase for The Rapid.
"The plan doesn't make any sense," says spokesman Eric Larson. "We are not advocating the elimination of bus service, we are just questioning raising taxes 31% to run mostly empty busses around town and start up a new bus line where there is already a bus line."
Two years ago voters rejected a tax increase to operate a "Silver Line" down Division Avenue. This time the request is part of a bigger package that would expand service through out the mass transit system.
"It's an investment in community," says Disability Advocates of Kent County director Dave Bulkowski. "It's an investment in my family, friends and neighbors who I know are on the bus."
Eric Larson of Kent County Families For Fiscal Responsibility disagrees.
"I don't think it's about helping the community that much as it is about raising taxes and having a lot of money without benefiting a lot of people,"
The election is May 3.