September2017 Voice

A L E G I S L A T I V E U P D A T E F O R T O W N S H I P O F F I C I A L S S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7

Bill would help fight ‘dark store’ assessing theory

A bill introduced in the Senate would be a step toward fighting the trend of drastically reducing property tax values for “big box” stores throughout Michigan. Senate Bill 578 was sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Wells Twp.), and awaits a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. If enacted, the bill would prohibit the Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT) from settling assessment disputes by using comparable properties that have a substantially lower highest and best use due to self-imposed deed restrictions. These restrictions are placed on the property by the owners for business reasons and should not be considered when determining taxable value. Elimination of consideration when determining assessment value would help stop the use of the “dark store” assessing theory, when an operational “big box” retail store’s value is compared to similarly sized structures that are vacant, abandoned or operating under a completely different use. MTA supports SB 578 and urges members to contact their state senator to ask that the bill be taken up and for their support on this important legislation. In recent years, the MTT has used the faulty “dark store” assessing theory when determining the value of fully functional “big box” retail stores, such as Menards, Lowe’s and Target. The use of this theory has distorted Michigan’s property tax system, drastically reducing property values for these large corporations and giving them

in this issue 2 911 fee increase would help improve technology Special assessment districts could pay for mosquito abatement Member input sought on 2018 MTA policy platform No local reimbursement in latest disabled veteran tax exemption bill Local liability could be reduced in flooding events Township elected offices could be nonpartisan Under SB 578, in assessment disputes of a property’s true cash value, the MTT would determine comparable properties for the property in question, which must have the same highest and best use. In doing this, the MTT must make certain that information for each possible comparable property is verified and accurately discloses all private restrictions such as deed restrictions, the impact of those restrictions, terms of the sale, financing method and market 3 4 Continued on page 2 a huge tax advantage over smaller “Main Street” businesses in their community.

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