Municipal Law and Finance: Personal Property Tax Reform


Personal Property Tax Reform Background -

Grand Rapids city leaders in cooperation with leaders from Ottawa and Kent Counties, Wyoming, and the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council worked with the Lieutenant Governor’s office early in 2012 to help address personal property tax reform. They offered suggestions for replacement revenues, reviewed draft bills and offered suggestions for improvements. Simultaneously, Dearborn’s Mayor, in collaboration with Ford Motor Company, was also working with the Lieutenant Governor’s office to address personal property tax reform.

When the initial personal property tax reform bills were enacted near the end of the 2012 lame duck session, follow-up legislation was required because those statutes did not provide many of the procedures needed for claiming, denying, and appealing the exemptions; did not provide consequences for improper exemption claims; did not provide many of the needed details for replacement revenues; and did not address tax increment revenue issues at all. In January 2013, the Lieutenant Governor assembled a group of stakeholders representing local governments, assessors, business groups, the Department of Treasury and the Legislative Service Bureau to draft the needed follow-up bills. Led by the Lieutenant Governor’s chief of staff, a smaller drafting group began meeting almost weekly. The result is the significantly modified and improved bills that have now been enacted. As the legal adviser to the West Michigan group, Scott Smith was privileged to serve on the drafting group.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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