On Wednesday, September 28, 2011, CRC’s Director of State Affairs, Eric Lupher, appeared before the League of Women Voters Dearborn—Dearborn Heights voter forum to explain the City of Dearborn Heights’ Headlee Override Millage Proposal on the November 8 ballot. The growth of Dearborn Heights’ tax base since the Headlee Amendment was adopted by the voters of Michigan in 1978 provides a very good example of how millage rollbacks and the housing bubble pop have combined to create a difficult position for Michigan’s local governments.
The City of Dearborn Heights’ tax base grew at a pace faster than growth in the rate of inflation from 1993 to 2008. During that period, the city’s tax rate had to be rolled back to offset the growth above inflation. Since 2008, the city’s tax base has declined more than 20 percent, but tax rates did not experience a roll up to bring the tax yield back to what would be an inflationary growth. State law requires a vote to override those tax rate reductions. Dearborn Heights voters are being asked to approve a 2.9449 mill tax increase to return the tax rate to previously authorized rates. You can see the full explanation of the need for this vote at www.crcmich.org/PUBLICAT/2010s/2011/Dearborn_Heights_Headlee_Override_09-28-11.pdf.