Half Of Detroit Property Owners Didn’t Pay Their Taxes Last Year

Detroit Area Economy Worsens As Big Three Automakers Face Dire Crisis


Detroit — 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 hard to argue with this statement from one taxpayer. Why should they pay taxes to the city for services the city doesn’t provide?

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.”

Detroit was, at one time, the model for progressive politics. Detroit has a minimum wage – a “living wage” in the vernacular of the left – that is far above the federal minimum. The city has long spent far more on education, per pupil, than the national average. Detroit has long been dominated by labor, though these days the militant public worker and teacher unions are far more relevant than the declining private sector unions. Detroits taxes were based on exactly the sort of redistributionist agenda our friends on the left prefer.

Detroit, in the past, was always a high-tax, high-services sort of place. And where has that wrought? Detroit has become a blemish on the face of America. A national embarrassment. A punch line for people who don’t live there, and a nightmare for those who do.

The city ought to be a cautionary tale for the failure of big tax, big government policies. And yet, at the national level, we have President Obama pushing for a higher minimum wage. Pushing to give unions more power. Pushing for bigger government, bigger taxes and a redistributionist tax code.

Obama wants to make us Detroit, even as the nation can see what Detroit is really like.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Onslaught1066

    So you’re saying hanniturd lives in Detroit?

    • Guest

      We all know Nothought1066 lives in denial- It’s the only place where someone who claims the address of a Senator’s office is “an opinion piece.”

      • Onslaught1066

        IYO of course.

        I see you still don’t have any facts to back up your suppositions.

        Perhaps you’ll get lucky on one of your daily meanderings, but I hold out no such hope.

        Good luck on your journey, good buddy.

        • two_amber_lamps

          Gusty has lots of suppositions… it uses them in great quantities with suppositories.

    • $16179444

      wouldn’t matter….mommy pays his bills

  • boy

    go unions go

  • JoeMN


    Every time I see the tax bill come, I think about the times we called and nobody came.”

    When you vote continuously for security over liberty, you wind up with neither.

    • opinionated


  • SigFan

    The only way Detroit will ever come back – if it can at all – is when they finally get rid of all the liberal/progressive hacks that have been running it into the grave for the last 50 years. Being a native of that area it really pains me to see it come to the ruin that it is – but anyone who lived there through the 50’s and 60’s knew this was it’s inevitable end.

    • tony_o2

      Either that or drive the rest of the country into the ground and make Detroit look a little better. Lowest common denominator…..

  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    This is “fairness” in Obama’s mind.

  • awfulorv

    I notice that not one of you brave souls mentioned the word Black, as you commented on the woes of Detroit. I would call that denial, big time…

    • Onslaught1066

      I noticed our resident opinion monger has not the intestinal fortitude to mention the word Red, as he opines fruitlessly on the woes of Detroit. I would call that Gusty to a tee.

      And I am certain that our girl, Gusty, has no clue what the reference to Red means.

      Perhaps this little puzzle will keep her tiny mind busy for the remainder of the afternoon.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    It makes every kind of sense to move the capitol from Washington, D.C. to Detroit.

  • Curtis D. Jundt, Bismarck ND

    Detroit, MI is the first of many others. The economic death spiral has to stop across America. We need to promote “new” wealth producing industries that include harvesting of ALL natural resources, grains, livestock and the innovation/invention and building of new globally needed products – just a few examples of products the U.S. exports. A primarily consuming country will ALWAYS be at the mercy of its supplier countries. One way to turn this “car” around Detroit (and America) is to STOP the
    federal government’s over -regulation and intrusion into our ability to export more of our natural resources, commodities, energy, food and innovative home grown and home-built products. We need the Detroit’s of the U.S. to come back to life; albeit
    “changed” from the Detroit of yester-year. American ingenuity
    promoted by, and unfettered by, our federal government is the only way to make
    this possible – IMHO!!

    • $8194357

      Now study up on UN AGENDA 21 and see what the elitist progressives have in store for us on a “global scale”.
      Corrupt crony government control over every aspect of human societies needs…

  • borborygmi

    Half Of Detroit Property Owners Didn’t Pay Their Taxes Last Year:” declining revenues and diminished services ,” What Rob has always supported declining revenus and diminished services in the City, State, and National Gov’t. Detroit, lots of guns no one cares, lots of drugs no one bothers you, don’t care for the law or laws, just freedom loving libertarians. Don’t pay taxes, thumbing their noses at gov’t, black market (the truest example of free market captilism. Gun laws , they don’t obey them so they don’t need them. I bet the kids don’t get milk in school either. BONUS Rob and prop 2 proponents wishing they were there. “

  • $8194357

    Muslims don’t pay jizya (tax)…
    Infidel dhimmis do.


  • awfulorv

    Detroit, and surrounding areas, until the late 50’s, produced 85% of the autos manufactured in the world. What happened? You have to work real hard, or easy, as the case seems to be, to let a small country like So. Korea, with no natural resources to speak of, kick your ass to the curb.

  • awfulorv

    On the other hand, Michelle Obama, for the first time, is proud of this country. Imagine that, a Black Nationalist, from Rev. Wrights never see, never said, never heard, front row, thinks were doing “just dandy”. Don’t that just make you feel “Scrumptious”?

  • Jackass Jimmy

    The lefties didn’t learn when Soviet Russia fell, and so it goes with Detroit. As long as there are votes to buy, the cycle will never end.