Mayor Duggan lobbying to change property tax exemption system in Detroit

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan fought Wednesday in Lansing for the state's most vulnerable Detroiters who can't afford to pay their property taxes.

He's urging lawmakers to pass legislation that would extend tax exemptions for the elderly and disabled.

Right now, any homeowner eligible for a break in taxes has to apply each year for the status. During COVID times, that process brought an additional 9,000 people into Detroit city hall. 

"Those 9,000 people are virtually all coming into the office. We have an online process but we tend to have the oldest and least internet-connected group who need this," Duggan said.
The Senate will vote on a new bill that forgoes the application process each year. Anyone who’s already exempt in 2019 or 2020 will stay exempt until 2023.

If the proposal passes, mostly elderly folks on a fixed income will benefit. 

"They’re not getting a job next year at stacking the shelves at Meijer or working the assembly line at Chrysler, and so to make them go through this process at the age of 83 and 84 and 85, in our minds, makes no sense," Duggan said.

This is not a Detroit specific bill either. Other cities could adopt the extension too.

Duggan says, jargon aside, it’s about keeping people in their homes. 

"We got a whole lot of folks who worked for a living, bought their house, paid it off, raised their families and who are not making enough in retirement or earning enough to be able to avoid losing a house to taxes," Duggan said. 

The Senate will vote on the proposal within the next week. If it passes, it heads to the House.