Yesterday the Senate Finance Committee passed Senate Bill 372 and 396, unrelated bills that both create property tax exemptions. We have testified in both the Senate and House committees that continuing to mandate local tax exemptions is an issue for local units even if the amount is considered “negligible” by the legislature.
In 2011 the legislature eliminated all tax exemptions at the state to “level the playing field”, and yet bills continue to be pushed that mandate local tax exemptions. Not only is this inconsistent from a policy standpoint, but it takes away local revenues.
Senate Bill 372 would amend the General Property Tax Act to require agricultural property to be excluded from sales studies if, upon a transfer of ownership, an affidavit attesting that the property would remain agricultural had not been filed.
Senate Bill 396 would amend the General Property Tax Act to provide for the taxable value of property to remain essentially unchanged if the property were reconstructed due to an accident or act of God; and specify that construction required to bring the property into code compliance would not increase its taxable value. There is already a formula in current law for replacement construction, and this legislation would only serve to take away additional local revenues.
The legislation now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at [email protected]