Legislative activity is continuing this January in MI House of Representatives. Currently Rep. David Maturen, 63rd District and MI House Tax Policy Committee Vice-Chair, has held three meetings with a broad-based legislative Work/Study Group resulting in new legislation crafted that will go to the Legislative Service Bureau. Rep. Maturen is hoping it can be reviewed and sent to the Tax Policy Committee “sometime in February.”
Hear the full January interview on Richard Piet radio show WBCK: slide to minute 17 for ‘Dark Store’ update.
Word on the Street’s Brian Cabell verifies this. He writes that Rep. Kivela sounded optimistic: “David Maturen of Kalamazoo is heading up the rewrite. And that, according to Democratic Representative John Kivela, is important because:
–Maturen is the vice chairman of the committee and has substantial influence.
–He’s a Republican, which seems to ensure that this is a bipartisan concern
–He’s from downstate which means Lansing no longer considers this a ‘UP issue.’”
Meanwhile, Both Marquette City and County are employing the services of a counsel, Jack Van Coevering, himself a former Chairman of the MI Tax Tribunal to assist in this process. “Jack has been working with the county over the last two years to develop legislation to address the dark store issue. His role has been important in developing something that would meet constitutional muster. … We want to keep him involved in that process,” county board Chairman Gerald Corkin said. “We want Jack to be available to work behind the scenes on this issue. He’s the most knowledgeable one in the state of Michigan.”
The Michigan Municipal League has weighed in on this issue:
“In the last few years, the political appointees on the Michigan Tax Tribunal have upheld this “Dark Store theory” and cut property tax assessments in some cases by as much as 50 percent. This impacts local revenues and subsequently local services and making Michigan one of the only places in the country that assess Big Box retail buildings in this manner. These rulings have resulted in a loss of millions of dollars in tax revenue for local governments across Michigan and now other businesses – not just Big Box stores – such as drug stores and auto repair businesses are attempting to get their taxes lowered based on this same Dark Store argument.”
Through all this uncertainty, Peter White Public Library is becoming a pawn. As budgets shrink due to property tax loss, local budgets try to adapt. Once again people head to local boards and try to find out answers and more palatable solutions. When local control is lost and revenue is being siphoned off where do citizens go for necessary, consistent services? Enter the Emergency Manager. Just ask Flint residents how that is going.
What to do personally? Attend the next Marquette Twp. Board meeting at 6:00, in the Commerce Drive Office to follow this sad saga. Also contact David Maturen on his Facebook or Website. Listen to/read more about the MI Rep on our Closemichiganloopholes Resource page.