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Proposal to ‘ax’ property taxes fails to make Michigan ballot. It’s not alone

Karla Wagner with an orange shirt. She is speaking to reporters not seen in the photo
Karla Wagner of AxMITax, a group that wants to end Michigan property taxes, said Tuesday they failed to gather enough signatures to make the November ballot. (Bridge photo by Jonathan Oosting)
  • A proposal to eliminate all Michigan property taxes will not make the 2024 ballot due to a lack of signatures
  • It may be the first time in nearly a decade Michigan voters will not have a statewide ballot proposal to vote on at the polls this November
  • Organizers are vowing to try again, whether that be through another signature gathering effort or by advocating for legislation

LANSING — A proposed constitutional amendment to do away with all property taxes will not be on the Michigan ballot this November after organizers failed to gather the necessary signatures. 

AxMITax lead organizer Karla Wagner acknowledged defeat Tuesday in a video posted to Facebook. The group had to gather at least 446,198 valid signatures by Monday in order to qualify for the November ballot.

“We did not get the number of signatures that we needed to get this on the ballot for 2024,” Wagner said.


AxMITax is the eighth and final Michigan petition drive that failed this year. Barring the Legislature putting a proposal of its own on the fall ballot, Michigan will be without a statewide proposal for the first time in an even-year election since 2016

Like some other groups that fell short, AxMITax will try to make a future ballot, Wagner said, promising to try to raise funding to print new petitions, redo campaign literature and recruit volunteers for another run.


But the group will have to start “all over with the collection of the signatures,” she added, because wording in the petition circulated this year “prevents us from using these … in a later election.” 

“I think next time we’ll be prepared,” Wagner said, “in so many different ways.”

Wagner’s group, AxMITax, sought to eliminate all property taxes in Michigan which they claimed could save taxpayers a collective $14 billion a year. 

Their proposed constitutional amendment would have also required two-thirds voter approval for local taxes and require any tax revenue distributed to municipalities and counties only be used “to fund only essential government and infrastructure services,” among other things.

But critics note those savings would have come at the expense of Michigan schools — which are supported by a statewide property tax that generated more than $2.5 billion for schools in 2022 — as well as other services funded by local governments, such as libraries, museums and zoos.

Board of State Canvassers Chair Mary Ellen Gurewitz, a Democrat, was one of those critics, telling Wagner last year that the petition failed to make clear how “utterly damaging” the proposal would be to state and local governments.

“Don’t worry about services like police and fire,” Wagner said Tuesday, appearing to address criticisms of the movement. “They will find a way to fund it. I’m not worried about that.”

The AxMITax failure means Michigan will not have any citizen-initiated proposals on the November ballot. The Democratic-led state Legislature can still put a constitutional amendment on the ballot by Sept. 6, but doing so would require supermajority votes in both closely divided chambers. 

That sets up the prospect of a November election without any statewide ballot proposals. That would be a notable shift from recent years, when voters approved marijuana legalization, an independent redistricting commission, election rules and abortion rights, among other things. 


The current Legislature is unlikely to take up any measure resembling AxMITax, Wagner acknowledged in a Facebook comment. “Hopefully in 2026, we will have the majority again,” she said, referencing Republicans. 

“That,” Wagner added, “would be very helpful.”

AxMITax was not alone in failing to make the November ballot. Other petition drives that fell short sought to: 

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