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Proposed ballot initiative aims to eliminate property tax

voices property tax proposal.jpg
Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-20 12:22:14-05

(WXYZ) — There's a push to get rid of property taxes in Michigan. Karla Wagner started the AxMITax proposal, and she's trying to get the issue onto the November 2024 ballot.

“Property taxes are the only taxes where someone’s at the risk of losing their home if they don’t pay it, and you have no choice. Your choice is pay the bill or lose your home," Wagner told 7 Action News.

She's fed up with being obligated to pay property taxes. The Cannon Township resident said this initiative is four years in the making.

“People are sick of it. They can’t feed their kids. They can’t pay their utilities. They can’t buy prescription drugs, and yet they’re forced to pay property taxes they do not use," she explained.

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Karla Wagner, who started the AxMITax property tax proposal, talks to 7 Action News on Feb. 19, 2024.

She said services like police, fire and road commissions are essential. So, she’s on board with continuing to pay taxes for those services. However, when it comes to anything else, she feels taxpayers should be given a choice.

“I don’t go to the library but between myself and my business, I pay probably $1,700 to $1,800 a year for a library I don’t use," Wagner explained.

Lynnora of Sterling Heights said she routinely visits the library. 7 Action News caught up with her at the Troy Public Library, where she was returning and checking out content.

“I would never vote to get rid of property taxes if that would affect libraries," she said. “The community needs this. If you personally don’t use it… you may not have a child in school either, but we all need to support the schools.”

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Lynnora of Sterling Heights talks with 7 Action News outside the Troy Public Library on Feb. 19, 2024.

Phillip Thompson, another taxpayer, said: “I applaud somebody who wants to advocate for less taxes on Americans. Nobody wants to pay them, but we recognize we have to. It’s just the facts.”

He said he believes the ballot initiative is dead on arrival.

“And to do away with property taxes, it’s just untenable," Thompson said.

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Phillip Thompson talks with 7 Action News about a proposal to eliminate property taxes. (Feb. 19, 2024)

Tony Minghine, the deputy executive director of Michigan Municipal League said, "I don’t think anyone should underestimate the devastating consequences it would have on virtually every public service we all rely on."

He said prospective residents and businesses might be deterred from moving to Michigan if certain services aren't funded. However, to help make up for the loss of funds, Wagner proposes increasing state revenue sharing with local and county governments. But that revenue would only go to public safety and roads.

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Tony Minghine, the deputy executive director of Michigan Municipal League, talks with 7 Actions News about a proposal to eliminate property taxes. (Feb. 19, 2024)

Minghine said, “This proposal, frankly, is just irresponsible and reckless and it’s trying to be wrapped up as tax reform. Again, it would have devastating personal, and socioeconomic consequences across our state."

7 Action News knows there are other varying views and opinions on this topic. Reach out and let us know what you think.