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Locals Win Property Tax Case Over Big Box Retailers

Menards sign photo
Mike Kalasnik
Flickr Creative Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court has handed a victory to local governments in a widely watched property tax case involving big-box retailers. We have more from Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta.

This started three years ago, when Menard’s challenged its property tax assessment by the city of Escanaba. The tax was on a building the retail chain left behind, but the deed still says it can’t be sold to another big box retailer.

Menard’s wants its property taxed as a closed and vacant building, which would cut its taxes in half. The city wants to tax it based on its best possible use, including as a retail operation. The Supreme Court order let stand a lower court decision in favor of Escanaba and other local governments.  The dispute now goes back to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, which has to take the court rulings into account in its decision.         

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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