Advocates back study that found Detroit still inflating property taxes

Detroit — A coalition fighting for fairness in property tax assessments joined Thursday with economists, legal and finance scholars to call for state and city leaders to investigate the ongoing “inaccuracy” and “inequity” in property tax assessments in Detroit. 

The Coalition for Property Tax Justice contends multiple studies have found that the lowest-valued homes in Detroit continue to be overassessed — even after an $8.4 million citywide reappraisal in 2017 — and that it’s “putting thousands of Detroiters at risk of unjust foreclosure.”

Tom Perriello, executive director of The Open Society Foundation, said it’s “beyond disputable fact” that illegally inflated property taxes is a national problem that is well-documented in Detroit. 

“This is not just not a robbing of wealth, it’s a robbing of dignity or a robbing of people’s access to the American dream and the system that we tell them to believe in,” he said during the Thursday news conference.

Perriello and others have signed on to a letter affirming findings in a study conducted last year by Christopher Berry of the Center for Municipal Finance at the University of Chicago. That study concluded the city’s residential property tax methodology continues to harm Detroiters.

Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield speaks during a public hearing regarding overtaxation of Detroit homeowners.

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