Bill aimed at improving Metro Detroit mass transit could lead to property tax increase

DETROIT – The effort to improve Metro Detroit mass transit is getting traction in Lansing.

However, concern is growing about House Bill No. 5229 because it could get very costly for homeowners -- particularly in Oakland County.

Last November Wayne County, Washtenaw County and Oakland County leaders teamed up asking the state Legislature to make it easier for regions to tax themselves for things like mass transit.

Monroe House Rep. Jason Sheppard is House Bill 5229′s sponsor.

“We’re all about trying to have locals fix some of their issues and give them the tools and the toolbox to do it,” Sheppard said.

In the Senate there’s loud opposition, starting with state Sen. Jim Runstead of White Lake. He’s concerned because for many Oakland County residents a 5 mill increase that, if allowed, could mean annual tax bills going up between $500 and $1,000 per home.

“This is a crash and burn disaster of a bill,” Runstead said. “Oakland County voters and property taxpayers are not going to get a return on the investment. It is a cost shift, a tax shift, over to Wayne County primarily.”

Livingston County state Rep. Ann Bollin agrees with Runstead.

“I really think we need to pause and put some guardrails on that because that means anything,” Bollin said.

There are still questions whether they have enough votes to pass or kill this bill. In the meantime, it’s important to point out that should it pass, local voters will still get the final say whether millages will pass.

The bill itself is not a transportation bill. Instead, it amends and expands on an already existing Michigan law governing regional agreements used to fund programs like mass transit.

View House Bill No. 5529 below:

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