News Story

Property Taxes Up $638 Million In 2018

Driven down by Lost Decade and Great Recession, Michigan property tax collections now up six years in a row

Michigan’s state government, municipalities, public schools, community colleges and other tax-collecting entities took in $14.6 billion in property tax revenues in 2018, which is $638 million more than in 2017, according to the Michigan Treasury Department. The figure represents a 2.1 percent annual increase after adjusting for inflation.

Property tax collections are based on property values and assessments, and in recent years, these have rebounded from declines seen during the state’s Lost Decade of the 2000s and the nation’s Great Recession of 2008-09. James Hohman, director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said that statewide, property taxes are up $1.9 billion since 2012, not adjusting for inflation.

Media reports still highlight stories of “cash-strapped cities,” despite the recent upticks in property tax collections, which are the largest revenue source for most Michigan municipalities.

Starting in 1996, state and local governments enjoyed 11 consecutive years of increased property tax collections. That streak was snapped in 2008, as plummeting property values and assessments meant four consecutive years of diminishing tax collections.

More recently, property tax collections have increased for six years in a row, with $14.6 billion collected in 2018.

“Property tax revenue increased above inflation, despite local officials who insist that constitutional limitations on property tax increases have starved communities,” said Hohman.