property tax

Jeremy Thompson

 

Voters in Traverse City and Garfield Township will weigh in on a new millage, or a tax, to continue funding the Recreational Authority for the next 20 years.  

Morgan Springer

Traverse City Area Public Schools will have to pay back over $700,000 to the state over allegedly misreported student enrollment.

These are trying times for cities in Michigan, thanks in large part to big cuts in state revenue sharing and real estate values that cratered during the economic meltdown.

On top of all that, Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment limits local municipalities' ability to collect taxes.

As a result, many communities say they're out of options. They can't cut any deeper and they can't raise the money needed to provide operations. 

Public finance expert Michael McGee has come up with a possible solution: a legal "toolbox" that could allow cities to band together and put up a millage to pay for essential services. 

The so-called "dark store" approach to valuing property — an approach which allows stores to base their property taxes on the stores that have closed around them — has allowed big box stores in Michigan to cut their taxes by at least $100 million. It has left communities around the state struggling to find the money they need to pay for municipal services.

 

Some politicians, including state Rep. David Maturen, R-Vicksburg, hopes to close the dark store tax loophole with bipartisan legislation, House Bill 5578.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently announced that more than half of Detroit home owners will see their property tax assessments drop by 10% .

"Here you have a mayor of Detroit who has, effectively, cut taxes two times in the last two years. When has that ever happened before?" asks Daniel Howes, whose article published in the Detroit News today evaluates the mayor's decision.

The upcoming August primary ballot will feature something not usually seen on August primary ballots: a statewide ballot proposal, something we haven't seen in August since 2002.

This ballot proposal will ask you to decide the fate of a reform of Michigan's industrial personal property tax, but there is a pretty significant hurdle that backers have to face: that icky little three-letter word – tax.

Chris Gautz, reporter for Crain's Detroit Business, joined us to talk about all this.

*Listen to our interview above.

Tax Credits/Flickr

 

 Many northern Michigan business owners have a new tax opportunity from the state, but might not be seizing it. The state of Michigan enacted changes late last year that allows business owners an $80,000 dollar exemption to personal property taxes. The required forms are due by February 10.

Area city and county officials are worried property owners are not taking advantage. Petoskey city assessor Robert Englebrecht says he’s noticed local owners have not been filling out the new form, although they are the target.