In hopes of highlighting the hard work and dedication of the KCDP membership, we are going to start recognizing Democrats of the Month. Every month we will write up a brief biography for our Facebook page and our website for the chosen person(s).
We are excited to share one of the members we will be recognizing during the month of April– Zak Ford. Other than being a longtime member of the KCDP, Zak recently sponsored what is being described as the most progressive tax plans in Kalamazoo County.
Zak Ford is a progressive Democrat, software engineer at Landscape Forms, and Trustee for Oshtemo Township. He is married to Lacey Ford and has an 8 month old daughter, Nelly. He has been a lifelong progressive Democrat and has been involved with KCDP since 2014. He ran for local office because he believed that it was a way to make a real impact on people’s lives through various policies, such as the recent poverty tax exemption.
Zak explains the new poverty tax exemption as, “The poverty tax exemption policy is designed to provide tax relief for low-income individuals and families. It is a one year exemption from property taxes, and with our new policy, it is the most progressive poverty tax exemption in our area. Qualifying individuals can apply for the exemption, annually, through Oshtemo Township. The new policy I championed has increased the qualifying income threshold by 25%. The goal is to help more people stay in their homes by providing direct tax relief. The 25% increase moves the threshold for a single individual from $12,060 to $15,075 an increase of over $3,000.00. The 25% increase moves the threshold for a family of four (4) from $24,600 to $30,750 an increase of over $6,000.00.”
When asked to explain the importance of the tax exemption he said, “In Oshtemo Township, where we are experiencing rapid economic growth and commercial development, I believe we must also be doing everything in our power to help every resident benefit from our community success. Seniors on a fixed income, working families putting their children through school, they should be able to depend on their local leaders to provide every possible avenue of assistance, to help them stay in their homes. Home foreclosure is a terrible tragedy for, too many, and if we are able to provide tax relief for companies seeking to make a profit in our community, then we must also be able to say that we have provided equitable relief to the most vulnerable in our community. There are no winners for our community when a home is foreclosed and a family displaced.”