Pneumatic Gun Legislation Passes Senate Committee

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary committee met and passed out SB 979 (Sen. Hildenbrand), a bill to include pneumatic guns (i.e. paint ball guns) in the list of pistols or other firearms that local units of government currently cannot tax, regulate ownership of, registration of, sale/transfer/possession and transportation of (PA 319 of 1990).

The legislation does allow a local unit to regulate the possession of a pneumatic gun in someone under the age of 16 unless it is their private property as well as allow a local unit to prohibit discharging of a pneumatic gun in heavily populated areas.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

 

 

Proposal One Passed – Check Out League Website for Additional Information

The passage of Proposal 1 last week means personal property tax will being phasing out in 2016 (in addition to the small parcel exemption that went into effect this year.)  League members have had a lot of questions regarding the passage of the proposal.

One main question has been the amount of reimbursement for local units. The Department of Treasury has put together a reimbursement sheet to help members calculate reimbursement. It’s available here: ppt reimbursement worksheet

We also have an updated “one-pager plus” fact sheet on our website that includes answers to some frequently asked questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about the legislation as well.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org

Michigan Cities, Villages Highly Successful in Getting Voter Approval on New Local Tax Proposals, Renewals

i voted logoMichigan voters continued to show their support for cities and villages on election day. There were nearly 40 tax-related requests on Tuesday’s primary election ballot from Michigan cities and villages and all but two were successful, according to a report by MIRS News Service.

This is consistent with other recent election results and the trend that people will overwhelming support tax increases for services they value, such as roads, libraries, senior services, police and fire protection and public transit, said Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin.

“These results show that voters will support tax increases for services they want and expect in making their communities desirable places to live, work, and enjoy,” Gilmartin said. “However, there is an underlying trend that is concerning: These results also show that the state’s system for funding municipalities is broken and that local communities and local taxpayers must continually counter the disinvestment in cities and villages that state leaders continue to demonstrate.”

Specifically, Gilmartin points to a League study from earlier this year that showed between 2003 and 2013 Michigan governors and legislators diverted $6.2 billion in statutory revenue sharing from local communities to plug holes in the state budget. This, along with a dramatic decline in property tax revenues, has forced communities cut and streamline local services and to look at alternative funding sources, including, but not limited to, millage increases.

Due to this disinvestment in local communities, it was not surprising to learn from MIRS that there were 786 local ballot proposals before voters on Tuesday and 267 of those proposals asked for new money. About 80 percent of the proposals MIRS classified as new tax increases passed, while 99 percent of all proposals classified as tax renewals passed. You can view the full MIRS list here.

A large majority of the requests were from townships, schools, and counties. There were about 38 tax-related requests on the ballot specific to Michigan cities and villages, plus at least four non-tax related charter amendments (all passed). Of those 38 requests, 36 passed and just two failed, according a League review of the MIRS report and in looking at other news articles about the unofficial election results.

Many of the new asks were road related and passed with nearly a 90 percent success rate. This is not surprising given the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and lack of consensus on a long-term road funding solution in Lansing. The Michigan Municipal League, in its Partnership for Place Agenda initiative, has suggested a variety of possible solutions to address the state’s transportation needs and other municipal funding concerns. You can view this agenda here.

“While voters have constantly shown support for local taxes that provide value and improve quality of life, there remains an underlying belief in Lansing that the citizens of Michigan will not support such efforts statewide,” Gilmartin said. “This election further proves that individuals care about their local communities and expanding investment in Michigan’s transportation network would be a great place for the Legislature to follow the lead of the constituents they represent.”

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Proposal 1; HUGE Victory for Michigan Communities!

The League was part of the coalition for Michigan Strong & Safe Communities, which actively supported Proposal 1.

The League was part of the coalition for Michigan Citizens for Strong & Safe Communities, which actively supported Proposal 1.

A huge thank you goes out to all the Michigan Municipal League member communities and supporters backing Proposal 1 on Tuesday’s primary ballot. The measure, which completes the plan to phase out personal property taxes that businesses pay, passed with 69 percent of the voters in support, according to preliminary results reported by mlive.com and the Detroit News with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Proposal 1 represented a considerable amount of negotiations and work by League staff and our members. We thank our many members who have publicly supported this proposal by passing resolutions encouraging a YES vote, doing media interviews, participating in news events and writing letters to their local newspapers. Read this article by the League’s Samantha Harkins about this history of this issue and why the League supported this measure.

“What this really means for us is stability,” Harkins, the League’s director of state affairs, told reporter Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press for an article about Proposal 1′s passage.

Here’s an excerpt from a Michigan Public Radio piece by Jake Neher about voters approving Proposal 1. This report also includes comments by Harkins:

Communities depend on revenue from the tax to pay for things like police, fire, and roads. (Governor) Snyder says the proposal ensures they will be fully compensated for any lost revenue.

Local government groups say they agree. “I think, from the local government level, it really provides certainty for us in a way that the failure of Proposal 1 certainly would not have created that certainty,” said (Harkins). “And we’ve had a lot of uncertainty in the last decade.”

Also in the “good news for communities” category, MIRS News is reporting that 80 percent of the “new money asks” in local ballot proposals were approved by voters. That 80 percent passage rate is consistent with the results from the past several elections. Here’s a chart by MIRS that shows the local ballot proposal results by community.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

Congress Passes Temporary Transportation Spending Bill

Hours before adjourning for their August recess, the US Senate passed the House version of the temporary spending bill to prevent the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and the continued authorization of MAP-21 through May 2015. The Senate had tried to shorten the time frame, hoping to force the discussion on long term solutions sooner rather than later, but had to concede at the end of the day. The bill, which passed on a 81-13 vote, inserts $11 Billion into the fund from a variety of sources, including pension smoothing. The League supports a long term solution to transportation funding, and is hopeful that after years of extensions, a serious discussion on the ongoing funding of our nation’s infrastructure will be had in the coming months.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnicki@mml.org.

 

Senate Passes Their Version of Temporary Federal Transportation Funding

The US Senate voted last night to pass their version of a short term extension of MAP-21 and some federal funds to cover the expenses of the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to run out of money within days or weeks. Last week, the House passed a version that would have made the extension through May 2015. However, the Senate yesterday added some pressure by only funding transportation until December 19, 2014. Therefore, creating a greater sense of urgency to come up with a long term plan to fund that nation’s infrastructure. The House now has only two days to accept the changes to continue to try and negotiate before they leave for August recess at the conclusion of session this Thursday, July 31st.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

2014 World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems Coming to Detroit

ITS America, in partnership with ERTICO and ITS Asia-Pacific, is excited to welcome you to Detroit this September 7-11 for the 2014 World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems. America’s Motor City is the perfect backdrop for the fantastic exhibitions hosted on our more than 300,000 sq. ft of show floor at the Cobo Center, the interactive demonstrations of the groundbreaking innovations in our Technology Showcase, the more than 250 riveting programmatic panels, roundtables, and interactive town hall sessions, as well as numerous networking events with an expected 10,000 transportation and technology leaders from around the world.

For more information on how to register please click here.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

If Proposal 1 Fails Here’s How Much Your Community Could Lose

In just one week voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1, which eliminates the personal property tax (PPT) on businesses without raising taxes to residents. But what happens if Proposal 1 fails?

A new community impact calculator by the Strong and Safe Communities YESon1 shows the potential losses communities could sustain if Proposal 1 is defeated and the Legislature decides to eliminate the personal property tax without any funding replacement for local municipalities. All you need to do is go to the calculator and follow the step by step instructions to see the impact on your community. For example, in Flint, if Proposal 1 fails and the PPT is eliminated without replacement that is the equivalent funding of 54 police officers, or 71 firefighters, or 464,746 meals on wheels for seniors.

Here are some details from the Strong and Safe Communities coalition about this:

A “NO” Vote on Proposal 1 and failure to pass Proposal 1 would hurt Michigan communities and Michigan small businesses. It would mean:

  • Michigan communities lose by having to go back to depending on an unreliable revenue stream for essential services like fire, police, ambulances, jails, and schools – plus other valuable local community services, including senior centers, parks and libraries.
  • Michigan businesses lose by having to go back to paying the antiquated unfair double tax that keeps them from investing and creating jobs.
  • Many community leaders across the state fear that if Proposal 1 fails in August, the legislature could still eliminate the PPT, but not reimburse local communities for that lost revenue.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org.