House Passes Santana's Utility Tax Amendment to Protect Detroit

Crucial bill will help city keep citizens safe
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

LANSING - The House today passed an essential amendment to the City Utility Users Tax Act sponsored by State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit). The bill would prevent the loss of about $50 million in annual revenue for the City of Detroit and is designed to protect public safety and ensure a sound financial future for the city.

Under current state statute, the City of Detroit is allowed to levy a 5% tax on public utility services such as telephone, electric, steam or gas. Since 2003, the revenue generated from this collection has been placed directly in the budget of the police department for the costs of hiring and retaining police officers, investigators, and sergeants. However, with recent Census data estimating the current Detroit population at around 713,000 the city was at risk of losing this crucial funding. Santana’s bill will update the law to reference a city with a population of 600,000 or more.

“This legislation only applies to the City of Detroit, the only Michigan municipality with a population of 600,000 or more,” Santana said. “Nothing is more important to the citizens of Detroit than safe streets and safe communities. We in Lansing are doing everything in our power to safeguard the welfare of our neighborhoods.”

The legislation passed the House today with bipartisan support and is now expected to be taken up for a vote in the Michigan Senate.