Senate OKs Brownfield Redevelopment Bills

On Wednesday the Senate passed a five-bill package (SB 111, SB 112, SB 113, SB 114 & SB 115) which would allow “transformational” redevelopment projects to capture state tax when a gap is identified between the financial viability of a development project and the cost of building that development.

The legislation requires a certain level of private investment from each project based on the population size of the community the project will be located in. The League worked closely with the bill sponsor and stakeholders to have the investment threshold lowered for the lowest population group so more communities would have the opportunity for a transformational project if the legislation is enacted.

In addition to the private investment, a project must show a net economic benefit and get approval from the local unit of government, where the project will be located, before it would be eligible for state tax capture. Only one project could be approved in a community per year, and the total tax capture the state authorizes cannot exceed $40 million per year.

The legislation now moves to the House and has been referred to the Committee on Tax Policy.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Early Morning Income Tax Vote Comes Up Short

After over 12 hours of behind the scenes negotiations, the Michigan House ended up voting down a third alternative for an income tax cut in the early hours of Thursday morning.  The amendments that were proposed to HB 4001 H-3 would have lowered the state’s income tax rate from 4.25% down by .1% per year for the next two years and then any further reduction down to 3.9% would have been conditioned on the state’s Rainy Day Fund having a balance of at least $1 billion.  If fully phased down as proposed, the legislation would have sliced more than $1.1 billion from the state’s General Fund revenues.  Once the final vote was tallied, the amended version only had 52 supporters, with 55 members voting against the measure (see page 4 of the linked pdf to see how each legislator voted).

The Municipal League was joined in opposition to this legislation by a broad coalition of organizations and individuals, including Governor Snyder.  As an organization we are extremely thankful for everyone who engaged with their State Representative this week, urging them to protect revenue sharing and local government services and opposing this bill.  We encourage you to reach back out to those legislators who voted No and thank them for their vote.

While the bill was defeated this morning, it is possible that the vote could be reconsidered in the coming weeks, so please be prepared to re-engage with legislators should this bill come back up.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

League Testifies on Need to Restore Revenue Sharing

The House Appropriations subcommittee on General Government, which includes the appropriation for revenue sharing, met yesterday to begin their consideration of Governor Snyder’s budget recommendation for the upcoming 2017-18 fiscal year.  This week’s subcommittee hearing centered on revenue sharing and the Municipal League was invited to present our position on revenue sharing to the eight-member subcommittee.

The Governor recently recommended, for the third straight year, that statutory revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships remain flat, at $248.8 million.  The Governor cited an estimated 2.3% expected growth in sales tax revenue to boost Constitutional payments, despite the shortcomings of those same estimates in the budget year that just ended last fall (Constitutional revenue sharing payments fell by nearly $1 million compared to the previous FY).  In his original presentation, the Governor also pointed to the $109 million in additional revenue that local units of government received from the new personal property tax reimbursement process as a reason why he was not restoring dollars into revenue sharing, something which the League quickly responded should not be counted as a proxy for the many years of budget cuts and neglect.

Following a historical overview of the revenue sharing program from the House Fiscal Agency, the Municipal League used our opportunity to address the subcommittee by explaining the important role that revenue sharing plays in every community’s budget. We walked the legislators through the limited resources that communities have available to provide critical services and how this broken system has been disconnected from the economic recovery that the state’s budget has experienced in recent years and the critical need that exists for this budget to include additional funding for revenue sharing, above the Governor’s recommendation.  You can view a copy of the League’s presentation here – Gen Govt SubCommittee-Feb 2017.

Following our testimony, the Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Association of Counties also addressed the subcommittee urging their support for additional funding.  The subcommittee will continue hearings over the coming weeks with their recommendation due around the spring break.

Please contact your legislator and urge them to support increased funding for revenue sharing.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

Contact Your State Reps Today and Tell Them to Oppose Income Tax Elimination Bill

Act now logo new-320

***UPDATE:   

The Michigan House just adjourned session for the day (Tuesday) after adopting a substitute version H-3 for HB 4001 that would reduce the income tax rate from 4.25% down to 3.9% by January 1, 2021 and stopping at that point.  Following hours of caucus and floor discussion, the new version was introduced and adopted on the House floor with no explanation of the new version.  The House Fiscal Agency analysis of the new proposal pegs the state’s General Fund loss in the first year and $195 million and progressing upwards to $1.1 billion in FY2021-22.  The H-3 version of the bill is now on 3rd reading in the House and has been listed for action on TODAY’s (Wednesday’s) House calendar. So it is just as important to contact your Reps today and ask them to oppose the sub version of HB 4001. Governor Snyder came out with a statement last night opposed to the revised bill (he was also against the original bill).

Legislation being considered in Lansing would eliminate the state income tax, potentially blowing a massive hole in our budget and destroying vital programs and services communities and your residents rely on every day. Let’s face it, nobody likes to pay taxes. But we need the services those taxes support – police and fire protection, road maintenance, street lighting, drinking water, libraries, parks, and the list goes on and on.

This plan to eliminate the state income tax is moving quickly and we need your help to oppose it. On Feb. 15, a state House committee passed out HB 4001, which would cut $680 million from the state budget in the first, partial year alone. This idea is poor fiscal policy that would harm the state’s future ability to provide critical services for its residents, communities, and businesses. There is no question that with revenue reductions of that magnitude, the remaining statutory revenue sharing payments would be at risk and any future restoration of the cuts from the past decade would be a virtual impossibility.

Proponents of the tax cut say it would spur economic growth and allow people living paycheck to paycheck to see meaningful tax relief and allow them to buy more. A recent Midland Daily News editorial disagreed and broke it down like this: “But the reality is that is a bunch of bunk. A person making $50,000 a year would see a tax cut of $175 — about $3.37 per week (48 cents a day). That’s hardly going to bail out people living paycheck to paycheck and is a very minimal increase in buying power.”

Governor Snyder and Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri also have spoken against the proposal and recent polling reveals little support for an income tax cut from voters, regardless of political party or geography, and almost no support once voters are told of the impact of the repeal. The poll found 74 percent of people oppose the idea of eliminating the income tax without a plan to replace revenue lost by the state.

Michigan communities have already lost $7.5 billion in revenue sharing dollars since 2002. This is money that should have gone to local communities, but instead state leaders kept the funds for their own budget priorities. Further risking cuts in revenue sharing, coupled with the dramatic declines in property tax revenues from the Great Recession, will only further devastate local governments. We should be talking about growth, not more cuts. With Michigan’s economy finally recovering, we should be looking for ways where our communities can share in that recovery, not push them further into crisis.

Please contact your State Representative today (look up their contact information by clicking here) and tell them to oppose HB 4001.

Matt Bach is director of media relations. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org.

Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) Data Collection on Paved Non-Federal Aid Roads Eligible for Reimbursement

On May 6, 2009, the Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) established a
policy to set aside a portion of the annual data collection budget to reimburse
transportation agencies for collecting Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating
(PASER) data on Paved Non-Federal Aid (PNFA) roads and streets. Many local road
agencies have taken part in this reimbursement program to the extent funds have
allowed. The TAMC is also aware of many local road agencies that periodically collect
PASER data on PNFA roads without reimbursement from the TAMC.

For 2017, funds for reimbursement of PNFA roads will be allocated in a first
come-first served order until the budget of $37,000 is exhausted. Agencies that
have received any TAMC PNFA reimbursements in 2015 or 2016 are not eligible
for reimbursement for the 2017 program.

The call for reimbursement requests will begin on Wednesday, March 1,
2017 at 8:00 AM and end on Friday, March 3 at 5:00 PM. Please note: verbal
requests or requests submitted before this time-frame will not be included.

For more information on the requirements that must be met to be eligible for reimbursement on locally collected PNFA PASER data collection please click on the following link. TAMC Reimbursement PNFA_2017

If you have any questions on requirements or how to submit data, please contact Roger
Belknap, TAMC Coordinator, at (517) 373-2249 or belknapr@michigan.gov.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Local Bridge Program Deadline for Applications – May 1, 2017

The Michigan Department of Transportation is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for candidate projects for the Local Bridge Program. Selected projects will be funded during the 2020 fiscal year (FY). Do not submit projects which cannot be committed to construction within FY 2020. The applications can be submitted by the local agency owner or their consultant. All bridge applications submitted in previous years that have not been selected for funding have been discarded. The total number of applications from any one local agency is limited to five.

The FY 2020 Local Bridge Program budget is estimated at $48 million. This amount may be subject to revisions.

Applications are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Monday, May 1, 2017. Please click here for more information regarding eligibility and submitting candidate Local Bridge Project Applications.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Keith Cooper, Bridge Program Manager, at 517-373-2346 or at cooperk@michigan.gov.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Michigan Rural Task Force Conference

MDOT is pleased to announce the first annual Michigan Rural Task Force Conference. The conference will be held in Mt. Pleasant at the Comfort Inn located at 2424 S. Mission, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 beginning at 1:00 pm.

Please click on the following link for the conference agenda. RTF Conference 2017 Agenda

To attend please RSVP to Anna Swanson; swansona1@michigan.gov  no later than March 23, 2017. If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Pamela Boyd (517) 335-2803; boydp1@michigan.gov, or Andy Brush (517) 335-2534; brusha@michigan.gov.

For hotel information please click here.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

New MSHDA Grant to Fund Neighborhood Placemaking

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently announced a request for proposals (RFP) for a new “Neighborhood Enhancement Program” which provides communities an opportunity to fund placemaking projects in priority neighborhoods. MSHDA worked with the League and other statewide partners to develop the program, and they are eager to receive creative and innovative proposals in three main categories: beautification, public amenities and infrastructure enhancement. MSHDA, in the first year of this program, is interpreting those categories broadly.

Cities must work through a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to apply. Proposals are due March 15. For complete details, visit the MSHDA website.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

House Committee Reports Bill Eliminating State Income Tax

 

A plan to eliminate the state’s income tax was voted out of a House committee Wednesday morning. The first full fiscal year impact of this plan would reduce the state’s General Fund by over $1.1 billion, or roughly 10%.  The Michigan Municipal League is actively opposed to this proposal as it could jeopardize the essential services that Michigan citizens rely on, such as police and fire protection, schools and roads.

We need your help to oppose this bill by contacting your State Representatives and letting them know how this proposal will hurt your community and their constituents.

The House Tax Policy committee reported House Bill 4001, a complete repeal of Michigan’s 4.25% personal income tax.  The state income tax brings in more than $9 billion towards the FY16-17 state budget…about 70% of the state’s current $10.8 billion General Fund and more than 20% of the $12.6 billion School Aid Fund.  While the bill would phase out the income tax by .1% per year over about 40 years, the initial reduction would move the rate to 3.9% on January 1, 2018.  The first full, fiscal year impact of over $1.1 billion would occur in FY18-19.

Supporters in committee cited the state’s current estimated budget surplus and previous statutory changes lowering the rate to 3.9% that were never implemented as reasons to move this bill.  It is expected that the House majority will propose an alternative to the Governor’s recommended budget that will reflect the cuts necessary to achieve the reductions that this change would require.

When a similar conversation took place in Lansing in 2015 as part of the road funding debate, MML commissioned a report to examine the impact of a proposed $350-700 million diversion of GF/GP dollars towards road funding would mean to the rest of the state’s budget.  The results of that analysis were not pretty and those same concerns hold true today…items of direct interest to municipalities like revenue sharing, PPT reimbursement dollars, PILT payments, fire protection grants, distressed community grants, and community development funding were all identified as programs that would be at risk in a scenario where the state General Fund undergoes this type of reduction. In addition, the final product of the road funding deal, which obligates an eventual $600 million of income tax dollars will never be able to be met if the income tax is eliminated.

Following opposition from the State Treasurer, the education community and the MI League for Public Policy, the MML joined in testimony against this proposal, urging the committee to consider the budget consequences of such a reduction.

Michigan’s broken fiscal model for local governments simply will not allow for any additional cuts to state support for municipalities.  The League continues to advocate for full restoration of revenue sharing.  This proposal would eliminate any ability for that reinvestment to occur.  While the legislature may view this as a policy debate, a decision of this magnitude will have real-life consequences for every resident of this state.

The bill passed committee on a 7-4 party line vote, with two Republican members abstaining.  It is very likely that the full House will move on this bill quickly now that it is on the floor, possibly ahead of any matching alternative budget proposal.  Please contact your State Representative today and let them know of your concerns about how such a drastic reduction in state revenues will impact the residents and services in your community.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state & federal affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and chackbarth@mml.org.

 

Legislative Committee Orientation Event at Capitol Teaches Ins and Outs of State Politics

League staff John LaMacchia and Chris Hackbarth at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

League staff John LaMacchia and Chris Hackbarth at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

(View more photos here)

About 60 local municipal officials from throughout the state were at the state Capitol Thursday in Lansing for the Michigan Municipal League’s Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation. The first-time event for the League was highly successful as members from the League’s various legislative policy committees heard from state lawmakers, League staff and communications experts.

The League makes policy decisions based on the input from its five League policy committees that are broken into topics – energy, environment and technology (chaired by Brighton City Manager Nate Geinzer); land use and economic development (chaired by Lake Isabella Village Manager Tim Wolff); municipal finance (chaired by Howell City Manager Shea Charles); municipal services (chaired by Novi City Manager Pete Auger); and transportation infrastructure (chaired by Farmington Hills Public Services Director Gary Mekjian).

The event was hosted by State Rep. Dan Lauwers in the Speakers Library in the Capitol across the street from the League’s Lansing office. Lauwers welcomed the group to the Capitol and was followed by League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin who thanked the members for their services on the policy committees and explained how important their work is to the League’s success as an organization.

State legislators speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

State legislators Rep. Christine Greig, Rep. James Lower and Sen. Ken Horn speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday. Kyle Melinn (left), co-owner of MIRS News Service, was moderator of the panel discussion.

Other event speakers were League staff members Chris Hackbarth, director of state and federal affairs; John LaMacchia, assistant director of state and federal affairs; Jennifer Rigterink, legislative associated; Emily Kieliszewski, member engagement specialist; and Shanna Draheim, policy director. There was also a panel discussion moderated by Kyle Melinn, news editor and co-owner of Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) and featuring State Rep. Christine Greig, House Democratic Floor Leader; State Rep. James Lower; and State Sen. Ken Horn.

Local officials listen to a presentation at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

Local officials listen to a presentation at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

Policy committee members from throughout the state attended representing the following communities: Village of Beverly Hills, City of Novi, City of Flushing, City of Gibraltar, City of Wyoming, Village of Copemish, City of Dexter, City of Center Line, City of Howell, City of Southgate, City of Grosse Pointe, Village of Chesaning, City of Livonia, City of Taylor,
City of Brighton, City of Charlotte, City of Westland, City of Woodhaven, City of Springfield, City of Dearborn Heights, City of Ann Arbor, Village of Mendon, City of Grand Blanc, City of Menominee, City of Midland, City of Berkley, City of St. Clair Shores, Village of St. Charles, City of Ovid, City of Monroe, City of Ann Arbor, City of Hazel Park, City of Douglas, City of Farmington Hills, City of Mt. Pleasant, City of Hamtramck, City of Alma, City of Hastings, City of Farmington Hills, City of Grandville, City of Dexter, City of Adrian, City of Rochester Hills, City of Orchard Lake, City of Cadillac, City of Rochester
City of Plymouth, City of Wayne, Village of Cassopolis, City of Dexter, City of Milan, City of Midland, Village of Sparta, City of Alpena, City of Saline, City of Gladstone, City of East Lansing, City of Clio, Village of Lake Isabella, Village of Blissfield, and Village of Quincy.

Dusty Fancher and Dave Waymire speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

Dusty Fancher and Dave Waymire speak at the Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation Thursday.

After lunch, the group heard about communications, public relations and the insider’s guide to lobbying from Dave Waymire, partner at Martin Waymire; and Dusty Fancher, partner with Midwest Strategy Group.

To learn about the latest legislative issues involving Michgian’s communities, subscribe to the League’s Inside 208 blog here: http://blogs.mml.org/wp/inside208/ (view subscribe box on right side of page). Learn more about the League’s policy committees here: http://www.mml.org/advocacy/committee/index.html. View additional photos from the event here.

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