Source: Michigan Retailers Association

Michigan Retailers: 'Assessor Overreach' Legislation Would Be Unconstitutional Tax Increase

LANSING, MI--(Marketwired - November 04, 2015) - Legislation that would change local property assessment practices on large retail stores amounts to "assessor overreach" and an unconstitutional tax increase, Michigan Retailers Association President and CEO James P. Hallan said today.

"Make no mistake, the idea put forth by assessors is a tax increase, and by singling out retailers it violates the uniformity provision of the Michigan Constitution," Hallan said in testimony to the House Tax Policy Committee.

He warned that allowing assessors to assess retail property differently also would create a slippery slope that could extend similar unconstitutional treatment to other types of businesses, including manufacturers.

Further, he said, it would send "a chilling message to potential investors that Michigan is not open for business. It is a step backwards from the strong progress Michigan has made."

Local governments backing "assessor overreach" legislation are pursuing the wrong path to increase revenues, Hallan emphasized.

"Municipalities should concentrate on attracting investment, not discouraging investment and penalizing those who have invested in their communities," he said. "For these reasons and more, Michigan Retailers Association strongly opposes any attempt to change current law and long-standing appraisal principles."

Michigan Retailers Association represents nearly 5,000 member businesses and their more than 15,000 stores and websites. MRA has been a trusted business resource for 75 years and provides cost-saving membership services such as expert credit card processing, business and personal insurances, legislative advocacy and discounts on shipping. It also operates the Buy Nearby campaign, a type of "shop local" program for the entire state.

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Tom Scott