Brinks pushes for property tax relief for businesses hurt by COVID-19

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In addition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to continue supporting businesses hit hard by the pandemic, there’s bipartisan support for some property tax relief in the Michigan legislature.

Earlier this week, Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, introduced Senate Bill 112. Her counterpart in the House, Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, put forth identical legislation with House Bill 4185

The bills would direct the Michigan Department of Treasury to create a reimbursement plan through the local government of eligible property and business owners who couldn’t pay their summer 2020 property taxes due to hardships created by COVID-19.

“So, if there’s a business that still has not paid that, they can pay it by a certain date in the next couple of months and then they won’t have to pay those late fees or interest penalties,” Brinks told News 8 Friday. “It would just be really helpful for them for their cash flow and it would also give cities the certainty of knowing what their cash situation is, in terms of any revenue that they may or may not have received.”

Once summer property taxes are paid, the local taxing unit would verify an applicant’s eligibility and then be reimbursed by the state.

Businesses eligible for the waiver include bars, restaurants, theaters, sports stadiums, exercise facilities and recreation facilities.

“I’ve been reached out to by so many businesses who have said, ‘We’re happy to pay our taxes, but we don’t have any income right now because of the shutdown,’” Brinks added. “It would really be helpful if we could reduce those penalties regarding the time frame.”

The bill is co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans. Brinks is hopeful it will either receive a hearing or go right to a vote, given it already has bipartisan support.

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