Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris: Museum tax would burden Oakland County residents
RELEASE|June 21, 2024
Contact: Mike Harris

Harris opposes bill to authorize millage to subsidize Detroit museums

State Rep. Mike Harris on Thursday voted against legislation that could raise property taxes on Oakland County residents to pay for two history museums in Detroit.

The bill would allow any Michigan county to create a history museum authority, which could levy new property taxes on local residents to fund history museums in the city of Detroit. Harris, R-Waterford, said the tax would cost Oakland County residents to pay for museums they may not even visit.

“Property taxes should support essential community services, but this proposal could tax Oakland County homeowners to subsidize museums in Detroit that they may not ever visit,” Harris said. “Taxpayers in our county are already subsidizing an art museum and metro-area buses regardless of whether we use them. People can voluntarily support historical education by paying museum admission or making donations. Oakland County residents don’t need yet another property tax hike to pay for attractions outside our county.”

House Bill 4177 would allow the newly created authorities to levy a property tax up to 0.2 mills for up to 10 years at a time. Such a tax is estimated to cost Oakland County residents more than $167 million over a decade. Once voters in a county approve the tax, the authority could then direct taxpayer money either to local history museums within the county or to history museums in the city of Detroit.

“This arrangement could even lead voters into approving a museum tax based on false assumptions,” Harris noted. “Voters could support a millage because they want to fund local museums in Oakland County, only for an unelected board to send all of the tax revenue out of the county.”

HB 4177 narrowly passed the House and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

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