Isabella County first to oppose elimination of local property tax

The Isabella County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to oppose legislation that would eliminate the state's personal property tax.

The package of eight bills, introduced in the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, would phase out the personal property tax for industrial properties. It would also provide an exemption for small commercial properties.

The county's resolution, which passed unanimously, stated the bills would reduce revenues to the county by $384,888 beginning in 2013. Its total revenue for 2012 is set to be $17,199,417,

“Such a revenue loss would have a devastating impact on the ability of local units of government to provide critical community services,” Commissioner David Ling read from the resolution.

State Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, said she has not yet decided how she will vote on the issue but will take into account the county’s opposition.

“I’m a little concerned for the locals,” she said. “I’m also concerned for the businesses impacted by paying taxes on something over and over.”

She said she hopes, through bill amendments, they can include a replacement for the revenue lost.

“It’s just one of those things that I think isn’t ready to be voted on yet,” she said.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration supports the bills.

"The proposal is designed to encourage economic growth in Michigan by reducing the personal property tax burden on many Michigan businesses," said Terry Stanton, a spokesman for Snyder.

Lost revenue will be replaced by the elimination of tax credits, like the Michigan Business tax, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley told local government leaders in April.

However, Ling said that will not fully reimburse the county.

The resolution urges state legislators to “actively and vigorously oppose any attempts to eliminate the personal property tax without full and guaranteed replacement.”

Commissioner James Moreno said the state legislators have been trying to reduce the county’s funding for the past 10 years for services like public safety.

“It’s hard to explain that to constituents,” he said.

The joint resolution is shared with the city of Mount Pleasant, Union Township and the Village of Shepherd.

According to the resolution, the bills would reduce revenues in the city by $230,000, the township by $45,000 and the Village of Shepherd by $17,420.

The other units will vote on the resolution at their next regular meetings.


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