House prepares to lower population requirements for Detroit's special taxes

May 31, 2011

A measure that would let Detroit continue to levy taxes on utility bills and income is likely to pass in the state House this week. 

The bill is necessary for Detroit to keep the income and utilities taxes because the law says to keep those taxes a city must have a population of at least 750-thousand. Detroit’s population slumped below that in the past decade. Now lawmakers from Detroit are calling for a change to reduce the population requirement to 600-thousand.

Democratic state Senator Bert Johnson is from Detroit. He says he thinks that 600-thousand is a safe and low-enough number.

“You know, I think Detroit’s days of really hemorrhaging people are probably behind us. We’ll lose a few more along the way, but not in the significant numbers that we’ve seen over the past decade,” Johnson said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says without changes to the law, the city would likely face a financial emergency. Senator Johnson says he expects the changes to be made within a couple weeks.