The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Detroiters Taxed out of Their Homes

Jan 20, 2020

The Detroit News analyzed 173,000 residential properties in the City of Detroit. They found that 96,000, over half, were overtaxed.

The total value of the rip-off amounts to 600 million dollars! Sixty-three thousand homeowners currently have delinquent debt and are at risk of being foreclosed upon. Almost all of that delinquent debt is due to overtaxing, and overtaxed homeowners still owe 153 million dollars in back taxes.

Detroit is one of the poorest cities in the country, with a poverty rate of 40%. When the scandal broke about the city’s practice of over-assessing home values, it came out that impoverished homeowners could qualify for property tax exemptions, but the city had done little to inform anyone. Of 39,000 eligible Detroit homeowners, only 7,600 received an exemption last year.

Even if some homeowners now are receiving exemptions and many more could, this does nothing to pay back the hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal taxes stolen from homeowners through false assessments.

Detroit once had one of the highest rates of home-ownership, especially for the black population, of any city in the country. Now it ranks among the lowest. The Detroit News’ investigation found that the city foreclosed on 70,000 homes between 2009 and 2015. Add to this tens of thousands more people who lost their homes due to the subprime mortgage scam banks and other lenders carried out. Homeowners who paid inflated property taxes could have used that money to make payments on their mortgages instead.

Mayor Duggan claims that if overtaxed homeowners were paid back, it would fall on other homeowners to pay more in taxes and the city can’t afford it.

What rubbish! The city has billions of dollars to give tax breaks to billionaires like the Ilitches and Gilberts, among others, but it can’t do anything to allow homeowners to keep their homes?

The politicians and the wealthy class that stands behind them need to be made to pay for their criminal actions.