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2022: Regional Tax Base Sharing

Co Learning Plan Author - 2022

Authors: Ashley Bellant


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 sharking 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.  

Author Information

Bellant HeadshotA Lansing native, Ashley Bellant recently returned home to continue her social work education and apply the advocacy and organizing skills she gained while working for criminal justice reform in Louisiana to the communities of Michigan. Currently employed with Safe & Just Michigan, a statewide organization that works to advance policies that end Michigan’s over-use of incarceration, Ashley has spent nearly ten years in nonprofit administration. Ashley obtained a bachelor’s in social work in 2010 and a master’s in the same field with a concentration in organization and community leadership in 2021 – both from Michigan State University (MSU). She served two terms as an AmeriCorps fellow in post-Katrina New Orleans before working for a large human services provider in development, regularly raising more than $2M per year. Through this development work, Ashley realized her passion for working with justice-impacted communities and organizing for reform. With this slight career shift in mind and missing the gorgeous outdoors of her home state, she reenrolled at her alma mater. Ashley is an MSU School of Social Work Advocacy Scholar, a member of the National Organization of Forensic Social Workers, and a certified Domicologist.

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