Detroit Property Owners Voting with Their Middle Fingers

Detroit is a "full-on Monet."Source: WikitravelAlmost half the property owners in Detroit aren’t paying their tax bills. The Detroit News went through the city’s property records and did the math:

Nearly half of the owners of Detroit's 305,000 properties failed to pay their tax bills last year, exacerbating a punishing cycle of declining revenues and diminished services for a city in a financial crisis, according to a Detroit News analysis of government records.

The News reviewed more than 200,000 pages of tax documents and found that 47 percent of the city's taxable parcels are delinquent on their 2011 bills. Some $246.5 million in taxes and fees went uncollected, about half of which was due Detroit and the rest to other entities, including Wayne County, Detroit Public Schools and the library.

Delinquency is so pervasive that 77 blocks had only one owner who paid taxes last year, The News found.

It’s easy to imagine progressives seizing on this information as some sort of proof that Detroit’s disastrous financial problem is due to those selfish property owners not paying their due to keep the city running. But really it appears to be a self-perpetuating cycle of dissatisfaction with the services – or rather the lack of services – property owners are getting from the city:

Many of those who don't pay question why they should in a city that struggles to light its streets or keep police on them.

"Why pay taxes?" asked Fred Phillips, who owes more than $2,600 on his home on an east-side block where five owners paid 2011 taxes. "Why should I send them taxes when they aren't supplying services? It is sickening. … Every time I see the tax bill come, I think about the times we called and nobody came."

Oh and furthermore, not only are they getting no service from the city, they’re being overcharged on their property taxes, too:

Detroit has the highest property taxes among big cities nationwide and relies on assessments that are seriously inflated. Many houses are assessed at more than 10 times their market price, according to new research from two Michigan professors.

A state review team has declared Detroit to be in a state of financial emergency, but is currently recommending against declaring bankruptcy.

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  • Cytotoxic||

    The New Somalia? The future?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The News reviewed more than 200,000 pages of tax documents and found that 47 percent of the city's taxable parcels are delinquent on their 2011 bills.

    You know who else said that 47 percent of people weren't paying taxes.

  • Thane of Whiterun||

    The Jews?

  • The Sherriff of Fistingham™||

    ORomna?

  • C. Anacreon||

    Dick Hertz?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    The Greeks.

  • RandomJackass||

    GASP - you mean the highest property tax rate in the country isn't bringing in the most revenue? That's unpossible!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck property taxes. You either own something or you don't.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Fuck taxes. You either own something or you don't.

  • Professional Target||

    You don't.

  • cryptarchy||

    So do I have to pay property taxes on the four Detroit children I smuggled out last night. They signed waivers stating that they are now my property

  • Agammamon||

    Its too bad Detroit is so damned cold - the place is starting to sound beter and better.

  • Tman||

    You could've bought the Silverdome for $583,000 at auction.

    Your own personal stadium! It's kinda a fixer-upper though, like most of Detroit.

  • Ted S.||

    The Silverdome, of course, isn't in Detroit. :-p

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    More of Warty's family emerge

  • ||

    Ann Coulter calls libertarians a bunch of pussies on 'Stossel'.

    I was there and I will just say that this woman needs a steak.

  • C. Anacreon||

    She needs something. I'm willing to bet she hasn't been laid in years.
    Coulter probably misses those days when she was a Deadhead, doing hippy boys in a VW microbus while on summer tour.

  • Killazontherun||

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    She's a pretty bright woman, but those were some godawful, thoughtless, clueless answers.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    I agree. She's a smart lady. When she's skewering liberals she is usually on target. She could make Tony cry and wet his pants. I respect her for jumping into the lion's den.

    BUT - the idea that objecting the war on drugs and wanting to stop filling prisons with non-violent drug offenders is just sucking up to liberals -- that's nuckin' futz. Having said that, I've seen a lot of lefty libertarians (some on this site) do that.

  • ||

    On the off chance Coulter reads any of this;

    Let me clue you in on something Ann. I tried pot back in 1980-81? I didnt like it. I dont smoke it. In fact, I dont use any drugs at all. When pot becomes legal I still wont smoke it.

    But, if I decide to start it isnt any of your fucking business. I own this body, not you, and I will decide what goes in it or not.

  • ||

    I should have added this as well;

    Leave the collectivist BS to the left. It is the bedrock of their philosophy. If the GOP wants to be taken seriously, to survive, then they need to stop being the same statist shit in a slightly different bag.

  • Redmanfms||

    Her argument on drugs is so insipidly stupid on its very face. We're already paying for the welfare and healthcare of drug users Ann, get a fucking clue.

    My opposition to the WoD has absolutely nothing to do with appealing to my "lefty" friends (because I don't have any, and wouldn't appeal to them if I did), it has to do with how massively fucking expensive it is, and how it has been used to justify huge increases in State power with the associated decreases in individual liberty (beyond being able to choose what chemicals the individual can ingest). I'm amazed that nobody in the audience challenged her by forcing her to justify America's massive prison population, or the increases in police power at the expense of personal liberty. She'd have been forced to show her true colors then, that she is a collectivist liberty-hating freak who only differs from her "opposition" in what she wants to control.

    And she must be intellectually incapable of multitasking....

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Her argument on drugs is so insipidly stupid on its very face. We're already paying for the welfare and healthcare of drug users Ann, get a fucking clue.

    It's even worse than that. We're paying billions for the WoD and losing the 4th Amendment in the process now.

    Plus, her answer on marriage was just as bad. "Well, we're past the point of getting government out of it, blah, blah, blah." The same "reasoning" could be applied to everything she wants to do. It's a pussy copout on an issue with which she doesn't agree. It's intellectually inconsistent if not outright intellectually dishonest.

  • Redmanfms||

    It's even worse than that. We're paying billions for the WoD and losing the 4th Amendment in the process now.

    You didn't read the rest of my post, did you?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    No. I generally skip that much text when it has no paragraph breaks. I covered the same material in two short sentences.

  • Redmanfms||

    Why would I insert a paragraph break when it was one idea?

    It wasn't even that much text....

    I covered the same material in two short sentences.

    Well, no, you only covered what was in the first sentence.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The cost and impact of the WoD and her "true colors" are two separate ideas.

    I'm so sorry I didn't read your carefully crafted paragraph. Better?

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm so sorry I didn't read your carefully crafted paragraph. Better?

    I really don't care, it's just extremely unusual for me for any of my posts to be considered text walls.

    And yeah, I noticed I could have inserted a break at "I'm amazed..." right after I posted the 8:29 response.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I guess she can't get other groups to pay attention to her any more. She used to take swipes at liberals, etc.--but they started ignoring her...

    So, this is just one more step on the way to completely irreverence for her. The more we ignore Coulter, the sooner she completely fades away.

    At the very end of the road, she'll start taking swipes at conservatives, too. And once they start ignoring her act, she's done.

  • Home Inspector||

    Who would want to pay more than what your property is worth in taxes? I don't think most people would.

  • Ken Shultz||

    What's Detroit gonna do if you don't pay? Seize your property?

    The city already has thousands of abandoned homes in Detroit. At one point, they were hoping the military would come in and help demolish them all.

  • Ken Shultz||

  • Jordan||

    STIMULUS!!1

    /Derpman

  • John Galt||

    "Why pay taxes?" asked Fred Phillips, who owes more than $2,600 on his home on an east-side block where five owners paid 2011 taxes. "Why should I send them taxes when they aren't supplying services?"

    Why? Because you voted for the inevitable for years, Fred. Even if you didn't vote for it you cheered it on. So shut up and pay up, bitch. Now, you have to keep those luxurious benefits to your corrupt pols and greedy public sector employees flowing.

    Be careful what you wish for...

  • bomb everyone||

    What a stupid comment, Fred. How are they supposed to supply the services, if they don't have the money to pay for them first? Ask two thousand new cops, or five thousand new DOT workers to work for free for a year first?

  • Paul.||

    Detroit has the highest property taxes among big cities nationwide and relies on assessments that are seriously inflated. Many houses are assessed at more than 10 times their market price, according to new research from two Michigan professors.

    I don't know how Michigan or Detroit does it, but property taxes based on value is a myth, especially here in Washington.

    Value comes into the equation, but it's window dressing on what's really going on.

    In Washington, the county government goes to the tax assessor's office and says, "We need x billion in tax revenue, go find it"

    The tax assessor then uses a formula (which changes constantly, by the way) to extract x billion from property owners-- value is used as a measure of what your piece of the 'pie' you're going to pay. The theory goes that people with high value properties pay a larger piece of the pie than someone with a lower value property.

    That formula, however, is tweaked so that when they're done applying it, they collect x billion in revenues.

    That's why here in King County, people's property tax bills went up continuously during down real estate years. When everyone went apeshit and started demanding answers, the tax assessor had to come clean and shine a light on how they actually collect taxes.

  • Spoonman.||

    That is explicitly how it works in Pennsylvania.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I had this happen to us on a development deal once in regards to the their budget for more streets.

    They figured out how much they were going to have to spend for new streets over the next tens years and divided by the number of square feet per coverage of undeveloped commercial buildings inside the city.

    When I pointed out to the city council that this new transportation fee was ten times higher than the fee in any neighboring city--and virtually guaranteed that no one would develop any commercial buildings inside the city, they relented, but it was pretty dicey there for a while.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Sweet!

    In general, I've been wondering how we could fight back against the apparatchiks. That's one way.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Detroit has the highest property taxes among big cities nationwide and relies on assessments that are seriously inflated. Many houses are assessed at more than 10 times their market price, according to new research from two Michigan professors."

    I'd suggest they lower those taxes if they want to attract more people to move there, but then I don't suppose anyone has wanted to move to Detroit for a long, long time.

  • Slocum||

    Actually, some people are moving to Detroit -- hipsters have been moving into the downtown area:

    http://www.deadlinedetroit.com.....owing_down

    Oddly enough, what you have right now is large number of black people moving out of Detroit and a much smaller number of white people moving in.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    This.
    Actually the vacancy rate in the downtown/midtown area is vanishingly small, and the number of new restaurants and such that have opened in the past year or so is incredible. All DINK's (dual-income, no kids), straight and gay. Their politics is probably lefty (the ones I know certainly are) but they're reviving the city, or at least part of it.

  • Slocum||

    The problem with Detroit is less the high rates than the unrealistic assessments. Housing values in the city of Detroit have fallen off a cliff in the last 5-10 years, but the city (illegally) refuses to adjust assessments and, instead, forces homeowners to go through the lengthy process of going to the state tax tribunal. And you can see why the city does it -- if they accurately assessed the properties, tax revenues would drop dramatically even if compliance improved. So you end up with a situation where the annual property taxes on a house in Detroit may be, say, half of the actual market value. And it's easier not to pay than go through the tax tribunal process. Also there's little risk the city will actually seize your property for back taxes, since it already has an enormous backlog, and if you're still living in it, you're keeping the strippers and squatters from destroying it. And as a final twist, if the city does take your property, you can just buy it back cheaply at the tax auction (for much less than the back taxes) and start over. Some landlords in Detroit were actually doing this as a standard practice.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Homesteading. It populated the American West it can repopulate Detroit. Of course that would require the government to relinquish taxes which they're not getting anyway and allow the homesteaders to own guns to protect their new property. Neither of which is going to be allowed to happen in Detroit.

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