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Tax breaks prove costly for Detroit

David Josar of The Detroit News used State Tax Commission data, property assessments and tax records to show that Detroit is losing more than $63 million in annual revenue because of property tax breaks given to people moving into new houses, condos and lofts. The tax breaks have cost the city and school district more than $400 million since 2000. "The loss in revenue has become so dire that Detroit Public Schools has begun sending its chief financial officer, Dori Freelain, to weekly City Council meetings urging pragmatism with abatements." The investigation found the tax breaks don't always go to the disadvantaged. In one case, the owner of one of America's most successful Chevrolet dealerships, who bought a $1.3 million house, saves $41,999 a year because of several exemptions. When the breaks expire in 2011, the businesswoman will have saved $371,345 in property taxes.

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