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Lansing considers a tax incentive for building on blighted land

A burned-down home in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
A burned-down home in Detroit.

Formerly nicknamed the “Dan Gilbert bills” after the prominent Detroit businessman and developer, legislation to give developers a tax incentive for building on blighted land sailed through a full Senate vote and is now awaiting a hearing in the House.  

The same kind of incentives came up in Lansing last year. But they didn’t go anywhere, because some lawmakers were worried it would only help big cities like Detroit.

This time, supporters on both sides of the aisle say the legislation is for cities big and small.

Republican Senator Ken Horn says he thinks the momentum that he couldn’t get last year to pass the legislation is there now.

“We’ve made substantial changes from the last term, and done a lot educating, and I think that we’re in pretty good shape,” he says, adding that he’s got a good pitch for any Republicans who worry that, after failing to give residents an income tax cut, this incentive would only help business developers. “We Republicans are good at solving problems. And what we’re trying to solve is a problem of blighted properties and communities all over the state. And this does the trick.”


House Democrat Andy Schor, who’s running for Lansing mayor, says this would help revitalize his city.  “It’s returning a tool to the toolbox to allow for, in essence, brownfield-type redevelopments in our communities,” Schor says. "And I think that will be hugely important.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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