State lawmakers are finally beginning the process of restoring more than a decade of cuts to Michigan communities.
Thanks to the urging of Michigan Municipal League members in recent days, the state’s conference committee this morning approved a 2014 state budget agreement that includes a 4.8% increase in statutory revenue sharing for local governments. In the past 12 years the state has cut local revenue sharing by more than $6 billion. Previous 2014 state budget recommendations called for no statutory revenue sharing increases to cities, villages and townships, but League staff and League members in recent days and weeks strongly encouraged lawmakers to support the Senate budget plan that included a 4.8 percent increase. It appears the League and our members have been heard. Check out this mlive.com article about the increase.
The budget also removed burdensome posting language, including the latest language that would have required local units of government to disclose the country of origin of their American flags.
The budget also included a 2.8 percent increase in constitutional revenue sharing.
Here is a statement from League CEO and Executive Director Daniel Gilmartin released to the media today:
“We are genuinely grateful to legislative leaders and Gov. Snyder for restoring a small portion of the cuts made by legislatures and governors to local revenue sharing over the past dozen years,” said Gilmartin, noting that the state has cut local revenues and used the funds to fill holes in the state budget, to reduce taxes, and for other state programs and services. “We will continue to seek additional restorations in future state budgets so local communities can also begin to share in the state’s economic recovery, just as the state budget is doing. The massive cuts to local revenue sharing have combined with other fiscal calamities, including slumping real property values, to decimate the finances of many local communities.
“When we need a cop or a firefighter at our homes or businesses, we don’t call the state capital. We call our local public safety agencies, which are largely funded by revenue sharing. When we turn on the faucet at our sinks, the water is clean largely because of revenue sharing funds. When young people are looking for great places to live, work and raise families and corporations are looking for places to locate and expand, they seek places that can deliver essential public services and that provide lifestyle attributes such as parks, art, culture, transportation alternatives to driving, and more. We hope this budget marks the start of a policy of reinvesting in Michigan cities and the end of the state’s policy of disinvestment and broken promises.”
View the full statement here on the League’s media room page.
Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org