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County fears loss of personal property tax  

Credit:  By Kate Hessling, Tribune Staff Writer, Huron Daily Tribune, www.michigansthumb.com 14 January 2011 ~~

BAD AXE – Huron County commissioners, earlier this week, discussed concerns the state will eliminate the personal property taxes businesses pay on equipment, which would result in a more than $700,000 loss in revenue for the county.

The loss would impact all levels and forms of local government, including schools, cities, villages and townships. It also would mean a cut in services/entities supported by special millages, like libraries, fire departments, transit, senior citizens and veterans.

And it would mean the area would lose the tax benefits it receives from commercial scale wind developments.

During Tuesday’s Huron County Board of Commissioners meeting, Huron/Tuscola Equalization Director Walt Schlichting outlined the amounts the county would lose if personal property taxes are eliminated in Michigan.

He said the county currently receives $230,000 in revenue paid in personal property taxes by wind developments. Other personal property taxes paid by commercial, industrial and utility companies totals $479,000 each year.

Officials noted there would be a significant impact to the county’s finances if the state acts to eliminate personal property taxes, which are taxes businesses pay for equipment. Personal property should not be confused with real property, which is land and buildings.

Schlichting said the elimination of personal property taxes may not be in bill form just yet in Lansing, however, it is likely to become a package of bills in the future. Proponents of eliminating personal property taxes say they make Michigan unfriendly to business, because it makes it more costly to develop a business. Opponents say it will cut revenue to all local units of government.

Proposals to eliminate personal property taxes have floated around for years, Schlichting explained.

He said he has been in contact with newly-elected 84th District State Rep. Kurt E. Damrow, the Port Austin Republican representing Huron and Tuscola counties.

On Thursday, Damrow told the Tribune he contacted Schlichting because he wanted to know the numbers for Huron and Tuscola counties so he knows what to support and what not to support when future legislation arises.

“I do want to see taxes cut, I’m going to do everything we can to cut taxes … but not if it’s going to wipe (counties) out,” Damrow told the Tribune Thursday.

Damrow, who served as District 7 Huron County Commissioner prior to his term in the Michigan House, said he supports taxing wind turbines.

“I would not vote to eliminate wind turbine taxes,” he said.

Ron Wruble, who chairs the Huron County Board of Commissioners, directed the Legislative Committee to stay abreast of this situation and keep the board apprised of any other information, particularly if it looks like efforts to eliminate the personal property tax move forward.

The board’s concerns aren’t that far fetched, considering newly-elected Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has favored cutting or eliminating the personal property taxes on business.

Read the full version of this article in the Huron Daily Tribune or online in our e-Edition.

Source:  By Kate Hessling, Tribune Staff Writer, Huron Daily Tribune, www.michigansthumb.com 14 January 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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