Michigan bill helps homeowners hurt by disasters

Michigan legislation intended to help residents who rebuild their damaged house after a natural disaster is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The state Legislature last week voted to clarify state law to ensure those who lose homes or buildings to "acts of God" won't be subject to higher property taxes when they rebuild a substantially similar structure within three years.

Republican Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba introduced the legislation after the Duck Lake wildfire in the Upper Peninsula destroyed 136 structures in 2012.

Current law limits year-to-year increases in the taxable value of property to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. But a property's value can be adjusted higher for "replacement construction."

Casperson says his bill ensures people who rebuild won't be penalized with higher taxes.