It’s official: DIA millage passes overwhelmingly

    DIA | Susan J. Demas

    Voters in Southeast Michigan decided Tuesday to continue to pay taxes to support the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

    The millage renewal passed handily in the tri-county area. Wayne and Oakland County residents both passed it 76% to 24%. Macomb County went 62% to 38%, according to unofficial returns, with 100% reporting.

    We’re really changing people’s lives and becoming a tool for the community and doing exactly what the DIA should be doing which is being a place for everyone,” DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons said on WDET-FM.

    The .2 millage renewal was leading Tuesday night, as the Advance reported. Residents pay $15 a year for a home valued at $150,000. Some anti-tax activists argued it was unfair to put the renewal up before it was ready to expire in 2022, especially when Democrats were expected to turn out in high numbers — which they did — for the presidential primary.

    State Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.) has introduced the “Art Institute Authorities Act,” which would bar millage renewals prior to a year before expiration, as the Advance previously reported. No action has been taken on the bill.

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    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.