September 2019 | Memorandum 1158
Memo – Seeking Property Tax Relief: Exploring Alternative Local Road Funding Options
- Michigan’s road funding system, with the state primarily responsible for levying taxes and sharing the revenues with local governments to maintain the roads, violates a core ethos of good government: that the misery of raising taxes should accompany the pleasure of spending the revenues.
- As the state has been slow to fulfill its revenue raising responsibilities, local governments have filled the void by levying property taxes, the only option available to most of them. More than 700 local governments levy a road tax and more are likely to follow, thus placing more strain on the already overburdened property tax.
- By considering the authorization of local-option motor fuel, vehicle registration, income, or sales taxes, the Michigan legislature would be following the practice of other states, including many of our neighbors, to meet local road funding responsibilities.