The Land Value Tax Plan

mayor and citizens

A homeowners tax relief plan that encourages growth and reduces blight.

Detroit home

It’s time to lower Detroit’s property taxes. Land Value Tax Plan Brochure has all the details.

Our Mission

Detroit’s Land Value Tax Plan is a way for Detroit voters to decide whether to cut homeowners’ taxes by an average of 17% and pay for it by increasing taxes on abandoned buildings, parking lots, scrapyards, and other similar properties.

If the Michigan Legislature authorizes, Detroit City Council would decide by November, 2023 whether to place the issue on the ballot. Detroit voters would decide whether to adopt the Land Value Tax at the February, 2024 Presidential primary election. Homeowners would see the full tax cut in 2025.

State Representative Stephanie Young from Detroit is the sponsor of the Lansing legislation.

Learn More with Our Land Value Tax Plan FAQs


The Problem

Under Detroit’s property tax system, blight is rewarded and building is punished. Detroit homeowners pay among the highest property taxes in Michigan.

Owners of abandoned buildings, scrapyards, and parking lots pay very little.


Two-Part Land Value Tax Plan

  1. Cut tax mills on buildings by 14 mills
  2. More than double taxes on land.


Land Value Tax Plan FAQs

What is the Land Value Tax Plan?

The Land Value Tax Plan modernizes Michigan’s outdated, one-size-fits-all municipal tax structure by allowing municipalities like Detroit to replace certain taxes on property improvements (including homes, buildings and other structures). 

What would be the impact of the Land Value Tax Plan?

The Land Value Tax Plan allows local governments to put money back into the pockets of their residents, reduce blight and tax foreclosures, encourage reinvestment and support small businesses. 

Why is the Land Value Tax Plan needed?
  • Michigan’s current municipal tax structure is broken and creates an unfair tax burden on homeowners and small businesses in some communities. 
  • The current system also unfairly rewards land speculators, discourages investment and improvements while saddling homeowners with a growing tax burden.
  • As some municipalities have lost residents and vacant lots have increased, the tax burden on property owners has increased, which is why the Land Value Tax Plan is necessary.
Who supports the Land Value Tax Plan?
  • The Land Value Tax Plan is supported by a broad, bipartisan coalition that transcends political and geographic lines.
  • The coalition agrees Michigan’s rigid approach to its municipal property tax code is overburdening Detroit’s homeowners and small businesses.
  • The coalition includes the City of Detroit, housing affordability advocates, faith leaders, small-business associations and more.
Will the Land Value Tax Plan only benefit Detroit?
  • No. The Land Value Tax Plan can benefit communities throughout Michigan that want to use it to attract new development and investments, revitalize neighborhoods and address blight.
  • The Land Value Tax Plan gives communities a CHOICE to modernize their municipal tax structures to reduce tax rates for homeowners and small businesses. 
  • The Land Value Tax Plan also allows communities to hold land speculators and owners of vacant, unused or unproductive land accountable through imposing a higher tax burden on holding those properties undeveloped.
What is the effect on Detroit homeowners (owner-occupied homes)?

The average Detroit homeowner will get a 17% permanent property tax cut in 2025. 97% of all Detroit homeowners will get a tax cut.

The legislation guarantees no Detroit homeowner gets a tax increase from the Land Value Tax plan.

How does the tax cut on improvements work?

Detroit’s millage for operations would be cut by 14 mills, from 20 mills to 6 mills for improvements to all taxable property.  That cut applies to apartments, retail stores, office buildings, homes, and land. 

What would the effect be for homeowners (with principal residence exemption)?

The 14 mill cut reduces the homeowner’s property taxes in this way:

Current Homeowner Tax Change under Land Value Tax
Detroit Operating 20 Mills Detroit Operating  6 Mills
Detroit Debt  7 Mills Detroit Debt 7 Mills
School Operating  6 Mills School Operating  6 Mills
School Debt 13 Mills School Debt  13 Mills
County  17 Mills County 17 Mills
Libraries  4 Mills Libraries  4 Mills
Total 67 Mills Total 53 Mills

(County mills include county, parks, ISD, WCCCD, Zoo, DIA)

How will Detroit homeowners’ property taxes compare to neighboring suburbs under the Land Value Tax?

Today, Detroit homeowners pay among the highest property taxes in Michigan.  Under the Land Value Tax, Detroit’s property tax rates will become competitive with neighboring cities like Southfield, Ferndale, Warren, and Grosse Pointe.  The attached map illustrates that change.

How does the tax increase on land work?

Land values in Detroit are very low.  Large millage increases on land don’t result in large tax burdens. The land mills will be increased by approximately 104 mills. 

The average vacant residential lot in Detroit currently pays $30 a lot. The Land Value Tax will increase the taxes to an average of $67 per lot.

What about urban farms, community gardens, and community spaces?

Urban farms, community gardens, and community spaces will not be affected by the Land Value Tax.  They are deemed community space under the proposal.

Will my taxes go up if I bought side lots next to my home?

No homeowner will get an overall tax increase if they own 4 side lots or less.  The average bill on a side lot will go up about $30 a lot, from $25 to approximately $55.  The average homeowner will get a tax cut on their house that is much larger than that.  If you are the exception where the increase in your side lot tax is more than the tax cut on your home, you will receive a credit.  You will have no overall tax increase as a result of the Land Value Tax.

What if I currently have an NEZ (Neighborhood Enterprise Zone) tax break? Can I keep my NEZ instead of taking the Land Value Tax cut?

Yes. You can choose whichever option is better for you.  If you have an NEZ break, you can keep that break until your 15 year period runs out.  When your NEZ period ends, you will automatically receive the permanent Land Value Tax break. 

Will new NEZ’s be granted to property owners if the Land Value Tax Plan is approved by the voters?

No.  NEZ’s have created tax inequity among Detroit neighborhoods.  Existing NEZ holders will be grandfathered. But no new NEZ’s will be granted afterward. As the existing NEZ’s phase out, all Detroit neighborhoods will pay the same tax rate.

What happens to owners of abandoned houses and vacant parcels?

The tax on the vacant land will more than double.  The millage rate on land will increase an estimated 104 mills, going from 85 mills today to approximately 189 mills.

What happens to owners of surface parking lots and scrapyards?

The land tax will more than double, but these owners will get a 14-mill tax cut on any improvements on the property.  The effects will vary, but should average about a 50% increase in property taxes.


Compare Detroit's Neighboring Cities Property Tax Rates



How To Enact a Land Value Tax Plan in Detroit?

The Michigan Legislature can allow for real tax relief for homeowners and small businesses through legislation that allows cities like Detroit the choice to adopt the Land Value Tax Plan.

This legislation would help local governments maintain a stable revenue stream and discourage blight and land speculation. And while the Land Value Tax Plan may not be the right choice for every community, research shows it would be a major boost for Detroit.

Here’s a major study that highlights the enormous benefits of a Land Value Tax approach in other communities.

The legislation would empower local voters in municipalities to decide whether the Land Value Tax Plan is right for their community.