For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2013

Contact: Bettie Buss

CRC Report Details the City of Detroit’s Revenues

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released a report analyzing the tax and other revenues available to the City of Detroit for financing city services. The report provides context for Detroit’s revenues by examining how major revenue streams have changed over time, as well as how the revenues available to city government compare with the revenues available to other large cities in Michigan.

“We found that total revenues have declined sharply over the last ten years falling by over $400 million (22 percent) from FY 2002 to FY 2012,” said Bettie Buss, CRC Senior Research Associate. “At the same time, we found that Detroit revenues are far higher on a per capita basis than any other large city in Michigan.”

It is clear that the City of Detroit faces profound fiscal problems resulting from population loss, legacy costs, and the decline of its economic base. However, when seeking a resolution to Detroit’s fiscal problems, it is important to consider that Detroit generates significantly more revenue on a per capita basis than other large cities in Michigan, and that Detroit’s tax rates are high compared to other Michigan cities and other cities across the U.S. While some actions, such as improving the rate of collection of income and property taxes, may enhance Detroit’s revenues, the ability to address Detroit’s fiscal problems through additional tax revenues will be extremely limited.

This version of the paper was revised on April 8, 2013. The original version had a problem with Chart 12 on page 17.

The full report is available at no cost on the Citizens Research Council’s website,

Founded in 1916, CRC works to improve government in Michigan. The organization provides factual, unbiased, independent information concerning significant issues of state and local government organization, policy, and finance. By delivery of this information to policymakers and citizens, CRC aims to ensure sound and rational public policy formation in Michigan. For more information, visit

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