Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No taxation?

During the Granholm administration I went to Lansing to testify against a bill that would limit the collection of Personal Property Tax (PPT) to only those businesses with assessments over $5000 of taxable value.  That bill was being supported by the Michigan Townships Association.  (Policy Statements
Their current on this issue is as follows:

PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION
Businesses have argued that the personal property tax (PPT) is an onerous tax, which makes them uncompetitive and should be eliminated. Townships find the tax very difficult and costly to administer, especially when dealing with very small businesses. Elimination of small miscellaneous bills would save more than enough money to offset lost revenues. Uncollectible bills languish for six years on the roll before they are written off. MTA recommends:
• establishing a threshold for total personal property subject to assessment of $5,000 taxable value;
• allowing uncollectible personal property tax to be stricken from the tax roll after two years; and
• that if the Michigan Legislature elects to reduce or eliminate the personal property tax, it does so by offering businesses a credit on state business tax obligations for personal property payments.

Even though West Bloomfield has a relatively small total collection for PPT, those small assessments do add up.   I prepared charts for my presentation showing the impact.  While the Association was arguing in favor, I was arguing against any change, even for small assessments.  Of course, West Bloomfield is really too big to be a Township and the Association really represents the interests of those very small out-state communities.

The Association and I are often on different platforms.  They also oppose moving assessing and tax collecting to the County level.  It is hard for me not to groan when I hear someone tell me how wonderful it is to be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee with the local treasurer in her dining room while paying their taxes.  Is this 1911 or 2011?  Did you ride over on your horse?

If this tax is eliminated with no replacement revenue, I am sure that many communities will be hurt.  And if they do come up with a replacement source, I suggest that seniors and the working poor hang onto their wallets.

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