Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate /

Parents could use tax-free savings accounts to pay for students' school-related expenses including extracurricular activities under legislation that has cleared a divided Michigan Senate. The Republican-led chamber approved the bills 23-14 Tuesday, with Democrats and some Republicans in opposition. The legislation goes to the House for consideration next. 

Pictures of money via Flickr | CC BY 2.0 /

The Michigan Supreme Court is wading into a hot legal dispute over how to value big-box stores for tax purposes.

Values lately have been controversial in Michigan, especially in the Upper Peninsula where communities have been forced to give significant tax refunds based on decisions by the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

Escanaba last year successfully argued that the Tribunal used the wrong standard to determine the value of a Menards store.

Jared and Corin via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 /

The Michigan Legislature has voted to let schools use special local taxes to upgrades their security and technology.

The bill sent to Gov. Rick Snyder by the Senate Thursday affects 'sinking fund' millages - local property taxes that fund major repairs and renovations to school buildings.

The taxes are currently assessed by 173 of Michigan's 544 school districts. The legislation would expand allowable uses to include school security improvements and technology. /

The Michigan Legislature's approval of a change in how health insurers are taxed to help fund Medicaid sets up a showdown with Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Republican-led Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to continue a tax on Medicaid managed care organizations, shift funding around and more quickly end a tax on health insurance claims.

It's the latest in Michigan's long-running attempts to not run afoul of the federal government, which has indicated the Medicaid managed care tax should expire.

The legislation is headed to Snyder.

Michigan residents will be able to voluntarily donate a portion of their state tax return to the American Red Cross and the financial literacy organization Junior Achievement under new laws.

The most recent form included income tax check-offs for eight funds benefiting the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, the Special Olympics, the United Way and other causes.

Nearly $600,000 was raised in the 2014 tax year.

Local governments say their taxpayers will benefit from a state Court of Appeals ruling that deals with a property tax break loophole for big box retailers.  

Major retailers like Lowes, Menards, and Meijer have successfully argued property tax assessors should compare their stores to vacant properties to establish their value.

That’s cost local governments millions of dollars in lost property taxes.

Steve Currie is with the Michigan Association of Counties.

GRPS logo

Grand Rapids Public Schools officials say the district will launch a $15 million dollar fundraising campaign, and say they will not seek to renew an expiring tax millage. 

The campaign, in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, was unveiled at the annual Grand Rapids Public Schools’ ‘State of Our Schools’ address on Tuesday.

U.S. Air Force | Public Domain via Wikimedia /

Thirty-four people face charges in a multimillion dollar tax fraud scheme said to be based in Battle Creek.

Officials say the scheme spanned seven years, ultimately netting $22 million from falsified federal tax returns. Close to 4,700 returns were said to be filed from 2007 to 2014.

The charges were announced Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney's Western District of Michigan office in Grand Rapids.

The office says all 34 defendants are Battle Creek residents. 

Donald Trump used a visit to west Michigan to take aim at Ford Motor Company’s plans to expand production in Mexico. He says, if elected President, he would threaten manufacturers with big tariffs on imports to discourage them from building plants across the border and overseas.

“If you build that plant in Mexico, I’m going to charge you 35 percent on every car, truck part that you send into our country,” he said. “Every single one.”

Nonprofit Navigation

Dec 18, 2015
Johnson Center for Philanthropy logo

Guests on behalf of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy join us for Nonprofit Navigation. Dr. Jason Franklin, WK Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, joins us to talk about tax reform policy changes and Social Innovation and Creative Placemaking.