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In this podcast, REI Research Assistant, Emma Gilbert, talks with 2022 Co-Learning Plan author Ashley Bellant, Social Media Specialist at Safe & Just Michigan. Bellant's 2022 project is entitled "Regional Tax Base Sharing." A summary of the project is seen below. Watch Bellant's full presentation at the 2022 Innovate Michigan! Summit on August 18th, 2022.

The idea of regional tax base sharing is of particular significance to the State of Michigan and other “rust-belt” states containing shrinking, deindustrialized cities. Regional tax base sharing is a policy idea created to address urban sprawl and the fiscal disparities created and exacerbated by the phenomenon. Large urban cores in Michigan typically were built around a few industrial employers. Globalization and deindustrialization have caused many of these employers to relocate taking their tax revenue as well as jobs with them. As these large urban centers shrink, so does their tax base, meaning cities must raise taxes to provide the same level of services. This leads to a vicious cycle where people do not want to locate there, urban cores aren’t able to attract new business because they can’t provide competitive tax subsidies, and the tax base continues to dwindle.  

This Co-Learning Plan focuses on Resiliency Planning and Financial Resiliency. It will examine the history of Michigan’s shrinking Urban cores, as well as two case studies from Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Meadowlands of New Jersey. A simulation will be conducted to examine fiscal disparity calculations for the determined geographical area using the regional tax base sharing model. This project will likely serve the Lansing-East Lansing Metropolitan Statistical Area of Eaton, Clinton, Ingham, and Shiawassee Counties. This Co-Learning Plan will simulate the implementation of regional tax base sharing in a particular geographical area–so that residents, advocates, and policymakers within that region are able to make better informed decisions. It will also establish talking points for proponents of regional tax base sharing from both “winners” and “losers” perspectives, as well as create a roadmap detailing the policy and legal steps needed to adopt and implement regional tax base sharing will also be included.

Download the transcript