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ABSTRACT

Current property tax policies in Michigan severely constrain the ability of the City of Detroit to raise sufficient revenues, particularly in a weak economy. Almost half of the land area of the city does not contribute to the property tax effort and the valuation of the taxable properties has fallen substantially since the Great Recession. This article considers alternative definitions of the city's tax base, including taxes based on land value or land area, as well as special assessments for specific services. These reform options are found to have considerably different impacts on different classes of real property.