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47% of Detroit Property Owners Don’t Pay Taxes, City Near Bankruptcy

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On February 21, 2013 @ 8:27 pm In The Point | 14 Comments


There’s lots of bad news for Detroit. Forbes rated Detroi [2]t as the #1 Miserable City in America. Also it’s on the verge of bankruptcy [3]and may be facing a state financial takeover.

Governor Snyder has declared that Detroit is in a “State of Financial Emergency [4]” Detroit has a huge budget deficit and tons of debt and  is issuing worthless bonds to borrow money [5]. (If this reminds you of how the country is now being run, that’s not a coincidence.)

So why is Detroit such a disaster? Let’s start with the mismanagement. [6] The Detroit Police Department misstated its number of employees by 20 percent.

Detroit is owed hundreds of millions of dollars [7], but no one can seem to figure out how to collect it. The 36th District Court collection rate is at %7.7. This is really, really bad. The Chief Judge is complaining that his budget isn’t big enough and is proposing to sue the city over it. Good luck collecting it.

Oh and 47 percent of Detroit property owners [8] aren’t actually paying their taxes.

The News reviewed more than 200,000 pages of tax documents and found that 47  percent of the city’s taxable parcels are delinquent on their 2011 bills. Some  $246.5 million in taxes and fees went uncollected, about half of which was due  Detroit and the rest to other entities, including Wayne County, Detroit Public  Schools and the library.

Delinquency is so pervasive that 77 blocks had only one owner who paid taxes  last year.

Detroit relies on a shrinking sliver of businesses and neighborhoods  to pay the bulk of the bills. The three casinos, General Motors Corp., DTE  Energy, Chrysler Group LLC and Marathon Petroleum Corp. paid 19 percent of  collected property taxes. Five city neighborhoods, most of them downtown and  along the river, paid 15 percent of the city’s taxes and represent only 2  percent of the city’s total parcels. In all, only 41 percent of the city’s  parcels produced tax revenues last year because of delinquencies and a large  number of tax-exempt land.

You can see why General Motors had to be bailed out. If it hadn’t been, Detroit would be in even worse shape.

“Why pay taxes?” asked Fred Phillips, who owes more than $2,600 on his home  on an east-side block where five owners paid 2011 taxes. “Why should I send them  taxes when they aren’t supplying services? It is sickening. … Every time I see  the tax bill come, I think about the times we called and nobody came.”

This is what living in a failed state looks like. A state takeover by Gov. Snyder may have a shot at fixing this mess. But Mayor Bing is still overlooking the obvious solution.


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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/47-of-detroit-property-owners-dont-pay-taxes-city-near-bankruptcy/21194438_bg2/

[2] Forbes rated Detroi: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2013/02/21/detroit-tops-2013-list-of-americas-most-miserable-cities/

[3] on the verge of bankruptcy : http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/21/us-usa-detroit-bankruptcy-idUSBRE91K0HT20130221

[4] Detroit is in a “State of Financial Emergency: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/19/17020815-financial-emergency-economic-review-finds-detroit-unable-to-fix-budget-woes?lite

[5] to borrow money: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/21/3246282/snyder-at-least-week-from-deciding.html

[6] start with the mismanagement.: http://www.freep.com/article/20130221/NEWS01/130221068/Detroit-s-interim-police-chief-disputes-state-s-report-staffing

[7] owed hundreds of millions of dollars: http://www.freep.com/article/20130221/NEWS01/302210235/Detroit-financial-crisis-Court-is-owed-millions-but-how-to-get-it-?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|NEWS01

[8] 47 percent of Detroit property owners: http://iowntheworld.com/blog/?p=173200

[9] Image: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/47-of-detroit-property-owners-dont-pay-taxes-city-near-bankruptcy/no-robocop_fullsize-3/

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