Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan detailed his strategy to reduce rates for homeowners and raise them on land speculators on Wednesday to the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee.
Amidst an affordable housing crisis, the goal is to spur growth and punish speculators for letting land and vacant buildings sit empty.
Speaking before the committee, Duggan stated the city isn’t asking for anything other than approval to seek this solution.
“We’re asking for the tools to fix something ourselves because the high property tax rates are choking the city,” Duggan said. “They’re choking off small businesses, they’re choking off new housing and they’re a terrible imposition on our residents.”
The plan would drop tax rates on occupied homes and structures by 70% while more than doubling the rate for vacant properties.
Duggan said it’s an effort to spur growth and get land speculators to start construction or pay up.
“There are 30,000 vacant lots owned by private owners who be there 30 bucks every year to keep it as speculators, hoping someday somebody’s going to want to put a big auto factory on it or a housing project and they are going to get rich,” Duggan said.
In announcing the city’s first Director of Urban Farming earlier this week, Duggan said lots used for agriculture would be exempt from tax increases.
The plan was passed through the committee — though it still needs to be passed by the entire Michigan Legislature and approved by Detroit voters.
Duggan wants to implement his tax reform plan by July 2025.