President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal is a $54 Billion Disinvestment in Cities

The Administration recently released their fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. the League has been working with the Nation League of Cities to identify the cuts that will affect cities across Michigan and the list is extensive. The total cuts equal a $54 billion disinvestment in communities across this country. As a result, not a single city, village or town will be better off if this budget were to be signed into law.

Key programs the budget eliminates funding for are Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, TIGER grants and he Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), just to name a few.

These cuts would have a devastating result on not only on local budgets but also on the quality of life for all our residents. It is imperative that we weight in with our voice and inform Congress that these cuts are unacceptable. The League will be proactively reaching out to express our concerns and we need you to do the same. Below you will find a department by department list of identified cuts that could negatively impact your communities.

  • Agriculture
    • Eliminates $500 million for the Water and Wastewater loan and grant program for rural water projects, which hurts small cities that utilize the program to maintain and improve water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, and storm water drainage efforts.
    • Eliminates the Rural Business Cooperative Service ($95 million).
    • Eliminates and consolidates rural economic development and infrastructure grant programs under a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants program.
    • Eliminates $61 million for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural single family housing direct loan program.
    • Cuts the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) by $4.637 billion, encouraging a re-balancing of the Federal/State partnership.
  • Commerce
    • Eliminates the Economic Development Administration ($221 million), which impedes distressed cities from receiving funding support for public works grants, city planning strategies, and research and technical support
    • Eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency ($26 million), which could slow the growth of successful minority-owned businesses nationwide by defunding programs useful in the planning, marketing, and managing processes.
    • Cuts $250 million from coastal research programs, which forces cities to pause or ease-away from preparation efforts for rising sea levels and worsening storms.
    • Eliminates the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which hurts small- and medium-sized businesses that are reliant on this public-private partnership to foster job growth and maintain stability.
    • Cuts $2 million (18%) from the BroadbandUSA program, which provides technical assistance to state and local governments on broadband development, deployment, and financing.
  • Education
    • Eliminates 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC; $1.2 billion), which negatively impacts children in general, and more specifically children in impoverished areas, by cutting afterschool and summer programs.
    • Cuts $2.3 billion from Title II, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which harms teacher quality and professional development efforts. The program is weighed heavily towards communities with high poverty.
    • Proposes a $1.4 billion investment in school choice, including a $167 million increase for Charter School Program grants, $250 million for a new private school choice program and $1 billion for Title 1 to ensure “student-based budgeting,” which follows the student to their school of choice.
    • Proposes level funding ($12.7 billion) for special education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Proposes level funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) – $1.393 billion for the Clean Water SRF and $863 million for the Drinking Water SRF, for a total of $2.257 billion.
    • Proposes level funding for WIFIA, a loan and loan guarantee program for large water infrastructure projects, at $20 million.
    • Cuts $326 million from the Superfund program and $11 million from the Brownfields program. Both programs help communities clean up polluted lands and revitalized abandoned and vacant properties.
    • Eliminates funding for regional ecosystem restoration efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative and Puget Sound, while maintaining strict EPA pollution reduction requirements, for a total cut of $427 million.
    • Eliminates funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, such as Energy Star, for a total cut of $100 million.
  • Energy
    • Cuts $1.4 billion from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and refocuses the priorities on early-stage R&D rather than development/deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
    • Eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program ($220 million), which stops states from improving the energy efficiency of low income households.
    • Eliminates the State Energy Program ($50 million), which strips state and local energy efficiency and renewable of energy programs.
  • Health and Human Services
    • Eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), totaling $3.384 billion, which helps low-income families with energy costs.
    • Eliminates the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), totaling $714 million, which diminishes available funding directed towards alleviating poverty.
    • Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), totaling $1.393 billion, which is an important, flexible funding source that allows States and Territories to tailor social service programming to their population’s needs.
    • Reduces the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program by 10% and eliminate the TANF contingency fund, totaling $1.785 billion.
    • Proposes reforms to Medicaid by giving State choice between per capita caps and block grants beginning in 2020.
  • Homeland Security
    • Cuts State and Local Homeland Security Grant Programs by 25% to $349 million, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program by 25% to $449 million, the Emergency Management Performance Grants by 20% to $279 million, and the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund by 60% to $39 million.
    • Eliminates the National Flood Insurance Program’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program, which puts many cities and towns that rely on maps when building homes outside of flood zones at risk.
    • Proposes a 25% non-Federal cost match for FEMA preparedness grants, which will impact small- and medium-sized cities. Smaller cities and towns will not be able to meet the 25% cost match, which will likely lead to their exclusion from FEMA preparedness funding.
  • Housing and Urban Development
    • Eliminates the Community Development Block Grant program, totaling $3 billion in cuts, which hurts the most vulnerable communities that are already in distress.
    • Eliminates the HOME program, totaling $950 million in cuts, which decreases affordable housing options in cities.
    • Eliminates the Choice Neighborhoods program, totaling $125 million in cuts, which decreases opportunities in communities with public and federally subsidized housing.
    • Reduces Rental Assistance Programs by $1.9 billion. Rental Assistance Programs help approximately 4.5 billion very low income households.
    • Eliminates the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program, the Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing program, and the rural capacity building program ($56 million).
  • Independent Agencies
    • Eliminates 18 independent agencies, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority, Northern Border Regional Commission, Denali Commission, Corporation for National and Community Service, Institute for Museum and Library, and Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.
  • Justice
    • Reduces Byrne Justice Assistance Grants by 25% to $239 million and eliminates the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program.
    • The budget also reduces Justice Information Sharing Technology Program by 50% to $34 million, Juvenile Justice Grant Programs by 14% to $230 million, Second Chance Act Grant Program by 27% to $43 million, School Safety Initiative by 74% to $18 million, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program by 8% to $11 million and eliminates the State and Local Gun Violence Reduction program and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
    • The budget would increase COPS Hiring Grants by 10% to $124 million and create a new $65 million Protect Safe Neighborhoods Block Grant Program.
    • The budget also contains proposed language for Congress to consider that would require DOJ and DHS to withhold grants from sanctuary cities that do not comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 or honor DHS detainer request aliens suspected to be in the country unlawfully.
  • Labor
    • Eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), totaling $434 million in cuts, which aims to transition low-income, unemployed seniors to unsubsidized jobs.
    • Cuts funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) job training and employment services programs by $1.341 billion (39%).
  • Treasury
    • Reduction of $500 million (4.1%). The IRS accounts for 97% of Treasury’s discretionary budget, which would have a lasting impact on the agency.
    • Eliminates new grants to Community Development Financial Institutions ($210 million), which expands availability of credit, investment capital, and financial services in under-served communities.
  • Transportation
    • Eliminates the TIGER grant program ($500 million), which has funded countless roads and transit projects since its inception in 2009.
    • Eliminates $630 million from long distance Amtrak routes.
    • Cuts Army Corps of Engineers discretionary budget by $1 billion (17%).
    • Eliminates $928 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts grants program.
    • Cuts $175 million from the Essential Air service, which subsides commercial flights to rural airports.

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.

President Trump’s Plan to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure

Last week President Trump hosted a “White House Infrastructure Summit” It was a gathering of the Administration and local leaders from across the country. At this summit the President laid out his vision for future investment in infrastructure. You can view the President’s official plan for infrastructure by clicking here.

The White House rolled out ideas on how to fix our nation’s ailing roads, bridges, schools and water systems in their version of “Infrastructure Week.” Building off the $200 billion in federal investment included in President Donald Trump’s FY2018 budget, ideas such as privatizing air traffic control, streamlining the permitting process, and improving inland waterways were all  highlighted by the president.

While proponents argue the infrastructure proposal would deliver greater control to states and local governments, the proposal appears to back down on a direct investment in infrastructure that cities and the nation desperately need. The result is a mixed bag for cities — some crucial programs shored up, major changes to regulations, and a great deal of funding uncertainty for the future.

The League will continue to stress the following points in our advocacy efforts for increases investment in infrastructure at the federal level.

  • Protect the tax exemption for municipal bonds
  • The need for direct funding to cities and villages
  • Ensure that federally funded programs that communities use to leverage additional investments continue
  • Any infrastructure package needs to include roads, bridges, transit, water, electric and broadband

Please consider reaching out and expressing the importance of investing in infrastructure and the need for that investment at the local level.

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.

2017 METRO Maintenance Fee Sharing Payment

On June 14, 2017, the Local Community Stabilization Authority (LCSA) issued the 2017 METRO Maintenance Fee-Sharing payments to cities, villages, and townships, as required by the Metropolitan Extension Telecommunications Rights-of-Way Oversight Act (METRO), 2002 PA 48.

Total amount to be distributed $24,580,726.72
   
25% allocation (Townships) $6,145,181.85
75% allocation (Cities & Villages) $18,435,544.87
Total $24,580,726.72

Specific municipality distribution amounts can be found at the following link. 2017 METRO Payment. Should you have any questions please contact the LCSA at (517)335-5448.

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.

House and Senate Reach Agreement on Revenue Sharing Increase in Upcoming Budget

A joint House/Senate conference committee met this morning (June 8, 2017) and approved a revenue sharing proposal for the upcoming 2017-18 state fiscal year.

Lead by former Walker mayor, State Rep. Rob VerHeulen and State Sen. Jim Stamas, the budget report included a 2.5% increase ($6.2 million) in funding for those cities, villages and townships that have been receiving statutory revenue sharing. This increase, alongside the expected improvement in sales tax collections that are estimated to improve Constitutional revenue sharing payments by more than $40 million, would reverse last year’s overall revenue sharing decline and provide the first increase on the statutory side in more than three years.

It should be noted that this morning’s conference agreement on SB 142 (http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2017-2018/billanalysis/House/pdf/2017-HLA-0142-7AA49F7E.pdf) was developed without any input from the Snyder Administration or the Department of Treasury, as the Administration and Legislature continue to haggle over Legislative leadership’s desire to include a closure of the MI Public School Employees Retirement System as a part of the spending for the upcoming budget year.

This means that while both chambers have consistently supported increases for cities, villages and townships throughout this year’s budget development process, the Administration did not originally recommend any increase and could resist the proposed increase if this version is presented for his signature without an overall deal in place on the MPSERS situation.

League members should contact the Governor’s office and urge his support for this proposed increase and for a long-term plan for restoration of the devastating cuts of the past decade.

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

Michigan Municipal League, Chris Hackbarth Named Among Top Lobbyists in State

The Michigan Municipal League and our own Chris Hackbarth, state and federal affairs director, were both recognized this week for being among the top lobbyists in the state.

The recognition of the League and Chris making a real impact in Lansing politics was part of the 2017 Capitol Insider Survey done by MIRS News Service and EPIC-MRA. .

“It’s gratifying to see others recognize what we already know – that the Michigan Municipal League and our excellent staff does an outstanding job representing our members at the state level,” said League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “It takes a lot of hard work, attention to detail and an enthusiastic and supportive membership to be effective in Lansing. Receiving this recognition shows that with the support of our members we are making a difference in Lansing.

The survey ranked the League in the top five in the category of “most effective membership organization” in the state.

In the individual category, Chris was also in the top five in the category of “most effective lobbyist for an association.”

“Chris is a real asset for the League, for our members and for Michigan,” Gilmartin said. “I’m extremely proud of Chris and his team and how we fight on behalf of our communities.”

The 2017 MIRS EPIC/MRA Capitol Insider Survey included completed responses from 479 legislators, lobbyists, staff members and other insiders in and around the state capital. It was conducted online from May 12, through May 19, 2017.

PPT Equipment Exemption Deadline Moving

Senate Bill 359 was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate, proposing to extend the late February deadline for eligible manufacturing equipment to file for an exemption from personal property tax assessment.

The sponsor introduced this bill in an attempt to address a situation where a business within his district encountered postal issues mailing the requisite form to the local unit.  The hard deadline within the act does not allow for any exceptions, necessitating an amendment to the act to provide an extension of the deadline.  As reported from committee, SB 359 would mimic the extension that occurred in 2016, allowing businesses with eligible manufacturing personal property to file for the exemption on that property by May 31st of this year.

With Senate floor action expected this week, House action would be needed next week for the bill to get to the Governor and allow any time for businesses to actually file under this extension.  Such a narrow window will hopefully result in very few new filings and little disruption at the local level.

Treasury also testified that this extension will likely require the October local unit PPT reimbursement checks be delayed until November, similar to what took place last year. A separate bill is being introduced this week and will likely be voted on next week in Senate committee for this purpose.  The bill sponsor did commit, in his committee testimony, to work with MML and Treasury on a mechanism that could be added to the act to allow for local corrections to filing issues or mailing delays so that there will no longer be a need to amend the law for the whole state to address a correction in one community.  This discussion will likely occur later this spring, with legislation to follow.

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

NLC Gears Up for Infrastructure Week 2017

Now in its fifth year, the National League of Cities (NLC) is once again participating in Infrastructure Week, May 15-19. Infrastructure Week is a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around one message: It’s #TimeToBuild.

NLC will host several events during Infrastructure Week highlighting the need for Congress to directly invest in local infrastructure, including:

  • An infrastructure advocacy action. As NLC leaders and our allies converge on Capitol Hill, join us from home to tell Congress to invest in cities.
  • An event discussing resilient water management on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 16 at 2:00pm EDT. This event is hosted by NLC, the Value of Water Campaign, and World Resources Institute.
  • A panel discussion on the importance of local infrastructure investments at the National City-County Leadership Center on Wednesday, May 17 at 10:00am EDT. This event is hosted by NLC, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the US Conference of Mayors.
  • An event highlighting outstanding examples of infrastructure projects nationwide on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 17 at 2:00pm EDT. This event is hosted by the Big 7 state and local government associations.
  • An event discussing the importance of broadband in building smart communities at the National City-County Leadership Center on Thursday, May 18 at 2:00pm EDT. This event is hosted by NLC, NACo, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
  • A panel discussion on the current landscape of autonomous vehicle research and technology development at the National City-County Leadership Center on Friday, May 19 at 10:00am EDT. This event is hosted by NLC and the National Association of Regional Councils.

Visit www.nlc.org/InfrastructureWeek for more information on NLC’s activities or email your questions to advocacy@nlc.org.

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.

2019 Federal Local Safety Program Solicits Applications

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of new applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 general Local (HSIP) Safety Program. The FY 2019 federal budget for this program is estimated at $9,000,000. This amount may be subject to revisions. Unselected FY 2019 High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) projects will automatically be included in this Call.

Local Agencies may submit more than one project application for consideration. Federal safety funds shall not exceed $600,000 per project or a maximum amount of $2,000,000 per Local Agency, HSIP, and HRRR combined, for the fiscal year. Selected projects are to be obligated in FY 2019.

Application are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Monday, August 7, 2017. Please click here for additional information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pamela Blazo, Local Agency Programs Safety Engineer, at 517-335-2224 or at blazop@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.

2019 Federal High Risk Rural Road Program Call for Application

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) program. Federal funds for the HRRR program are apportioned from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and derived from the HRRR Special Rule under 23 USC 148(g)(l), The FY 2019 federal appropriation for this program is estimated to be $6,000,000. This amount may be subject to revisions.

Local agencies are allowed to submit more than one project for consideration. Federal safety funds shall not exceed $600,000 per project or a maximum amount of $2,000,000 per Local Agency for the fiscal year, including any select FY 2019 HSIP projects. Any non-selected projects submitted under this HRRR call for projects will automatically rolled over to the general FY 2019 HSIP safety call for projects. Selected HRRR projects are to be obligated in FY 2019; the Local Agency will not be allowed to delay a selected HRRR to a different year.

Applications are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Monday, August 7, 2017. Please click here for additional information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pamela Blazo, Local Agency Programs Safety Engineer, at 517-335-2224 or at blazop@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 Transportation Asset Management Council Releases Annual Road and Bridge Report

This week the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council released their annual road and bridge report. The report summarizes road and bridge conditions and provides condition projections into the future. The report also provides a synopsis of TAMC program activities and events over the past year.

During 2016, the TAMC rated the pavement condition of the paved federal-aid eligible
roads for the twelfth consecutive year. This data collection included 57,961 lane miles of paved roads in Michigan, including State Freeways and Highways, City Major Streets and County Primary Roads. This effort was achieved through a cooperative effort of individuals from county road commissions, city and village engineering staffs, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), regional planning agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations. In addition, the TAMC also collected pavement conditions on some of Michigan’s paved non-federal aid eligible roads as well.

In terms of physical condition, the report reveals further deterioration of Michigan’s
federal aid eligible roads from the previous year with more miles being rated as “poor.” The 2016 condition data indicates 18% of these roads are in good condition, 43% are in fair condition, and 39% are in poor condition; in 2015, the breakdown was 17% good, 45% fair, and 38% poor.

The 2016 report was approved by the TAMC on April 26, and can be viewed at this link: http://tamc.mcgi.state.mi.us/TAMC/#/aboutus Once there, scroll down to “Annual Reports” to find the 2016 Report as well as other past reports.  There is also a Mini Version of the 2016 Report, which contains the Executive Summary, charts and forecasts of road and bridge conditions.

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.