Proposal a

Until 1994, property was valued, for tax purposes, at half its market value. This was called its State Equalized Value, or SEV. In 1994, Michigan voters passed Proposal A. That shifted some of the tax burden off property and onto the sales tax, which rose from four cents on the dollar to six.

Proposal A also limited the growth of property tax assessments.

The taxable value will be the lowest number out of these four:

  • This year's SEV
  • Last year's taxable value plus 5 percent
  • Last year's taxable value plus inflation
  • Last year's taxable value times this year's SEV divided by last year.

What you really need to know is that this formula can keep taxable value from growing as fast as property value. It limits the growth in taxable value to 5 percent a year or less. With the awful housing market in Michigan this could be the first year that taxable value will lower since the inception of Proposal A. Oakland county for example claims that this is the first year of depreciation since the legislation was passed and some homeowners may actually see a decrease in the tax bill. However, it is up to the taxpayer to make sure that their taxable value is in line with the current market value of their home. While residents of Michigan are plagued with decreasing home values, there may be some relief in the form of lower property tax.

Do you Pay too Much Property Tax?



Top 10 Metropolitan
Areas with Home
Price Depreciation

First Quarter 07-First Quarter 08

Metro Area
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco
Wash. D.C.
Source: Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller

Tax Rates

Property owners can calculate their tax bill by multiplying that taxable value by the tax rate.
In Michigan, the property tax rate is called a millage, and it is figured in mills. A mill equals $1 in taxation for every $1,000 in taxable value.

A parcel may have several millages in its tax rate. There is likely to be a millage to operate local government, and another for the county. Part of the millage rate may include mills for libraries, police and fire or schools.