MAA President's Message
The Legislative Committee is one near and dear to my heart having been involved personally for the past 11 years. When the Board of Directors met earlier this year in our strategic planning session, one of the top two areas of responsibility that we identified was that of legislative representation and advocacy.
Our new Legislative Agent this year is Manny Lentine who brings a wealth of experience in the legislative realm and Joyce Foondle has agreed to serve as the 2017 Chair of the Legislative Committee. Many of you will remember that Joyce has served previously in this capacity and I deeply appreciate her willingness to bring her experience back to the chairmanship.
The Legislative Committee is a body of highly committed individuals of varied backgrounds who volunteer their time to read, digest, discuss and analyze proposed legislation. Our Association reaches out to Legislators through our legislative agent, via one on one meetings with Legislators and by providing testimony in legislative committee meetings. Our goal is aide our Legislators by lending our professional experience and knowledge to apprise them of perceived outcomes and possibly unforeseen consequences of proposed legislation. Our main focus is to concentrate on how it affects taxpayers and property owners as well as inconsistencies within the law or procedural difficulties relating to assessment and property tax administration.
The Legislative Committee and Board of Directors also strive to maintain a proactive posture. The rise of the Dark Store Theory being utilized by many large retail chains in property tax appeals is a perfect example. Retail buildings, situated in prime locations and in thriving markets, (some even brand new installations), are being valued using the sales comparison approach while utilizing sales in secondary markets as comparables. The “comparable properties” utilized are most frequently old, run down and often deed restricted properties that can no longer be utilized for the same highest and best use as the property being appraised and in most cases not adjusted for these differences and restrictions.
Many communities have been, and currently are, defending against the improper application of appraisal theory in a myriad of big box challenges and have advocated for reasonable and equitable assessments of these properties to no avail before the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Recently, the City of Escanaba chose to appeal the Michigan Tax Tribunal’s decision in the appeal from Menard’s Inc. Through the efforts of the Legislative Committee, the MAA Board of Directors has supported Escanaba’s efforts through an Amicus Brief to the Court of Appeals in a joint effort with many other representative organizations. That appeal resulted in a very favorable and reasonable ruling by the Court of Appeals. As expected, the petitioner has appealed the matter to the Michigan Supreme Court. Therefore, the Michigan Assessors Association, along with the International Association of Assessing Officers and the Michigan Association of Equalization Directors has just completed a new Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court. The brief was drafted by Andrea Crumback and Joshua Beard from the law offices of Mika Myers PLC.
The Legislative Committee and Board of Directors are resolved to continue their support of its members in promoting proper valuation theory and promoting justice and equality in the distribution of the tax burden.
Until next month………
~ Ruth Scott, President