MacDonald bill would provide relief for property owners affected by shutdowns

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Thursday introduced legislation to provide some property tax relief to certain homeowners and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This would help family-run businesses hammered by the governor’s shutdown orders stay open and out of foreclosure and help affected workers keep their homes — while still providing critical support for local government services,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “People who lost their jobs and businesses like restaurants, gyms, theaters and skating rinks that were forced to shut down and as a result were unable to pay their summer property taxes on time shouldn’t have to pay the interest and late fees on those taxes.

“Homeowners and business owners would still need to pay their property taxes, but they would be given more time to pay them without increasing their costs through penalties and interest. In these cases, the state would cover the fees.”

Senate Bill 243 would allow certain property owners who have experienced economic hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic to apply by April 15, 2021 to the Michigan Department of Treasury for the state to make a payment to the owner’s county treasurer for the interest or penalties charged for unpaid summer 2020 property taxes.

The bill limits eligible pandemic-affected businesses to food service establishments, exercise facilities, entertainment venues, and recreation facilities or places of public amusement — such as skating rinks or bowling alleys.

“This is another attempt to help our struggling workers and job providers make ends meet as many of them continue to deal with severe restrictions,” MacDonald said. “The governor pocket-vetoed a similar measure late last session, but I hope this time we can find common ground on a plan that supports our people, small businesses and local communities.”

Funding for the relief has already been approved in a supplemental appropriations bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. SB 243 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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