Michigan Tax Tribunal

ESCANABA, MI (AP)--   Local governments in the Upper Peninsula are raising money to pay expert witnesses in a major dispute over the taxable value of big-box stores.

The Michigan Tax Tribunal will hear a case next year involving a Menards store in Escanaba. City Manager Patrick Jordan says Escanaba is trying to raise $200,000, which would trigger another $200,000 from the state Treasury Department.

Jordan says approximately $171,000 has been raised. Marquette County has given $10,000.

LANSING, MI--   The Michigan House has approved a bill that addresses the “dark store” property tax issue in the state.

Big box stores have claimed their property is unique and should be assessed as though they were vacant, as no other business would be able to move into it as-is.  House Bill 5578 would require the Michigan Tax Tribunal to make its own independent determination when issuing a decision on a commercial property dispute. 

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Many communities in the Upper Peninsula have taken the unusual step of opposing Governor Rick Snyder's appointee to a state board that makes significant decisions on property values. 

Snyder appointed Marcus Abood to the Michigan Tax Tribunal in late February. Under the constitution, Abood gets the job unless the Senate rejects the appointment within 60 session days.

Abood previously served on the tribunal. He's especially disliked in the Upper Peninsula because of key rulings that have cut tax revenue in many communities.

wnmufm.org

A discussion of changes in spending and operations from repayment of taxes to large franchise stores ordered by the appointed Michigan Tax Tribunal.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A bipartisan group of state lawmakers say they’ll make a major push in the fall to end special property tax discounts for big box stores.  

The stores are able to appeal property tax assessments to the Michigan Tax Tribunal to get a more favorable calculation of what they owe.

But state Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette) says the tribunal treats the buildings as if they’re vacant to give the stores a big discount. He says that’s unfair to locally-owned businesses who can’t get the same discounts.

MARQUETTE, MI--   Peter White Public Library officials are thinking of closing the building Fridays and reopening Sundays due to budget cuts. 

The Library Board met Thursday to discuss the 2015-2016 operating budget.   Library Director Pam Christensen says Fridays are typically less busy than other days, and the move would save about $30,000.

LANSING, MI--   State Representative Scott Dianda has introduced a bill to mitigate the loss of property taxes when big-box stores win appeals to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. 

Recently stores like Lowe’s, Target and Wal-Mart claim their buildings could not be reused for the same purpose and therefore should be taxed as though they were dark and empty.  The “dark store” theory has cut thousands of dollars in revenue to local governments. 

MARQUETTE, MI--   Randy Girard is frustrated.  

Over the past three years Marquette Township’s manager has fought the outpouring of property taxes—first a stream, now a potential deluge—from the Township’s coffers back to large retailers who say their property is worth a fraction of what the state declares. 

uproc.lib.mi.us

MARQUETTE, MI--   Peter White Public Library in Marquette is closing Sundays beginning in March to make up for nearly $31,000 it owes Duke LifePoint. 

The Michigan Tax Tribunal upheld a hospital appeal of the city’s property tax assessment from 2013 and 2014, reducing its taxable value and making every tax-dependent organization, like the library, the County and MAPS, responsible for the difference. 

UNDATED (WNMU) - The Michigan Tax Tribunal is dealing with a backlog of about 41,000 property tax assessment appeals.

The Detroit News reports that pending cases represent billions of dollars in challenged assessments, and in some cases date back years. They could result in local governments having to refund–with interest–millions of dollars in taxes they’ve gotten.