Clock is ticking on dark stores

Capital News Service
LANSING — A delay in changing the tax math for big-box stores could cost local governments big bucks for generations, say supporters of a bill that would stop the stores from claiming big tax breaks. “That’s the really scary thing,” said Greg Seppanen, a former Marquette County commissioner fighting low tax assessments as part of the county’s Citizens for Fair Share. The Michigan Tax Tribunal hears appeals from taxpayers who think their municipality has over-assessed the value of their property. In 2013, the tribunal agreed with a big-box store that said the value of its property had more to do with their business and less to do with property characteristics. This ushered in a wave of big-box stores demanding tax breaks and pointing to vacant big-box stores  as evidence that local governments were overcharging them.

Dems propose tax breaks for mid-, low-income families

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan is still catching up after the Great Recession crashed the economy — and for most residents, the 2011 rewrite of the state tax code made things worse, Democratic legislators say. Lawmakers recently took aim at tax changes approved by Gov. Rick Snyder that they said shifted the burden from businesses to individuals and harmed mid and low-wage workers. “Most families in our state continue to struggle economically, and the income and equality and disparity between the wealthy and everyone else continues to get ever bigger,” Democratic House Leader Tim Greimel of Oakland County said. “A big part of that is related to the massive tax shift that Republicans in state government orchestrated in 2011.”

Under the 2011 rewrite, multiple tax benefits for middle class and low-income residents were cut or reduced, including significant reductions to a tax credit that helps low-wage workers and their families. A $600 per child tax credit for families was also cut, and a new tax on pensions was added.