Michigan House Republicans
Detroit museum tax plan passed after Republican transparency amendments rejected
RELEASE|June 21, 2024
Contact: Tom Kuhn

Oakland and Macomb County residents could soon be asked to pay higher property taxes because of legislation passed Thursday afternoon by House Democrats.

House Bill 4177, designed to subsidize two Detroit non-profits, was adopted after the Democratic majority rejected amendments offered by state Rep. Tom Kuhn to ensure public oversight and transparency for any non-profit receiving taxpayer funds.

Kuhn’s amendments would have subjected the non-profits to the state’s Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, and annual public audits.

Under the Democrat-sponsored plan, Oakland and Macomb countywide authorities can collect up to 0.2 mills for 10 years but only disburse those funds to the two Detroit non-profits.

“This bill allows for an annual tax starting in 2025 as high as $15.5 million for Oakland taxpayers and $7.3 million for Macomb taxpayers ,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “Over 10 years, the plan could cost taxpayers from our two counties almost $250 million.”

“It’s imperative that these tax schemes ensure public oversight, transparency, and accountability,” Kuhn said. He pointed to recent disclosures that a similar non-profit, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, misappropriated over $40 million.

“Without transparency and oversight, taxpayers have no assurance that their tax dollars are actually going to provide these non-profits’ services instead of high salaries, no-bid contracts, special deals to friends of the board, and other irregularities which we have seen with similar non-profits.”

After defeating Kuhn’s transparency amendments, House Democrats passed the new tax bill 56-53, with all Oakland and Macomb Republicans voting against it and all Oakland and Macomb Democrats voting for it.

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