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.

Please VOTE YES on Proposal 1 in the August 5, 2014 Primary Election

Please vote in Tuesday’s Aug. 5, 2014, primary election. On your ballot you may have a lot of things or just a few things to consider, but one of the most important issues for Michigan’s communities is Proposal 1. The League is in support of Proposal 1 and encourages our members to vote YES on Proposal 1.

This proposal represents 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 is in support of Proposal 1.

So 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.

 

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.

Michigan Municipal League Staff Help Prepare Detroit City Council for Future After Bankruptcy

Detroit City Council MML Meeting

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones introduces League CEO Dan Gilmartin at a recent education session.

Michigan Municipal League staff has spent the last few weeks working with Detroit City Council members as they move forward and prepare to bring the city out of bankruptcy. League staff has led education sessions on a variety of topics, including the importance of placemaking, city finance and financial management, parliamentary procedure, legislative advocacy and other areas.

“We wanted to do this to help create a good foundation on which they can build as the city moves out of bankruptcy,” said Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. Gilmartin was the first person from the League to meet with the city council in sessions that started July 14 and expected to wrap up later this month.

Gilmartin gave an overview of what the League does for its member communities and he discussed the concept of placemaking and why it is key to the revitalization of not only Detroit but to all of Michigan. In essence, placemaking is about creating communities in which people want to live, work and play. Detroit already has many outstanding placemaking examples.

The League’s Anthony Minghine, associate executive director and COO, spoke to the council about a variety of municipal finance topics. Several hours were spent laying a foundation upon which the council can use as the bankruptcy ends and the emergency manager prepares to leave. The dialog that took place made clear that the council is preparing for a new day and setting new expectations for reporting and management of the budget. Topics covered included Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) pronouncements, fund types, allowable expenses, understanding financial statements, municipal budgeting, and long range planning considerations.

Other sessions were on lobbying 101; planning and zoning; legal framework of municipalities by the League’s General Counsel William Mathewson; and roles and responsibilities.

Kelly Warren, the League’s director of events, said the goal of the sessions were to give Detroit leaders the core lessons taught through the League’s Elected Officials Academy (EOA) program. Go here for more information about this EOA program.

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

What is Proposal 1 on Michigan’s Aug. 5, 2014 ballot?

Personal Property Tax Reform

Reporter Tim Skubick interviews Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly about the effort to reform Michigan’s personal property tax

In just over two weeks voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1 that, if approved, would complete the reform effort to Michigan’s personal property tax.

Many Michigan communities are getting questions from their residents about Proposal 1 that appears on the Aug. 5, 2014, statewide primary ballot. It is the only statewide ballot question going before voters in August. The Michigan Municipal League is supporting Proposal 1 and encouraging our members to pass resolutions in support (view the communities that have passed the resolutions here).

Although many communities have passed resolutions in support others are more interested in providing information to their residents that takes a neutral position. Below is an example of an information-based statement that Michigan communities can share with their residents. (A special thanks goes out to Farmington Hills City Manager Steve Brock, a member of the League Board of Trustees, for putting this together for his community – we’ve broadened his statement a bit to make it applicable to any community.)

Facts of Proposal 1 Aug. 5, 2014, ballot question (to make it more applicable to your community fill in the portions in italics:

  • It is NOT a tax increase for any individual
  • It eliminates the current Personal Property Tax liability for businesses that own equipment, machines and furnishings
  • It replaces 100 percent of this revenue ($X.X million for YOUR COMMUNITY’s NAME) with expiring state tax credits, a small tax on certain manufacturing concerns and part of the use tax paid by out-of-state suppliers
  • There is no formally organized opposition to this proposal
  • So far, all of the media outlets/sources that have made endorsements on this ballot question have supported the passage of Proposal 1
  • The Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Townships Association and Michigan Association of Counties (as well as dozens of other organizations and groups), have all supported the proposal. View complete list of supporters here.
  • f you have any questions about this proposal, please contact me at (YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION).
  • VOTE on the August 5 Primary Ballot.

Here are some links to additional information about Proposal 1:

1. Review magazine article by the League’s Samantha Harkins detailing the history of the personal property tax reform effort. Click here and go to page 18.

2. Michigan Municipal League One-Pager Plus fact sheet about the 2014 personal property tax reform package.

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

Michigan Communities Urge Residents to Vote YES on Proposal 1; Pass Resolutions in Support

Proposal 1 Press Conference Oakland County June 2014 Brooks Patterson Barry Brickner (16)-edited-smallMore than a dozen Michigan cities and villages have approved resolutions urging residents to vote YES on Proposal 1 Aug. 5. The Michigan Municipal League is part of the vote YES on Proposal 1 Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities coalition and is encouraging our member communities to adopt a resolution. The League is then sharing the resolutions with the local media and public and those press releases can be viewed here.

We want to thank these communities for passing resolutions in support of Proposal 1: Cedar Springs, Frankenmuth, Fremont, Grayling, Hartford, Madison Heights, Mattawan, Middleville, Mt. Pleasant, Northville, Norton Shores, Pleasant Ridge, Three Oaks, Walker and Yale. If your community is not on this list but passed a resolution please email me at mbach@mml.org. We also want to thank our many members who have participated in local press conferences and editorial board meetings in support of Proposal 1.

The passage of Proposal 1 on the Aug. 5 statewide primary ballot is the final step toward completing comprehensive reform to the state’s personal property tax (PPT) – an effort the Michigan Municipal League has been heavily involved in for the last few years.

Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner urges residents to vote YES on Proposal 1 during a recent Oakland County news conference.

Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner urges residents to vote YES on Proposal 1 during a recent Oakland County news conference.

The PPT is a tax on business equipment that communities have relied on for years to provide essential services, such as police and fire protection, schools, libraries, ambulances, jails and roads. The League has maintained that if this tax is eliminated there must be full replacement of the revenue for local governments. Proposal 1 provides the revenue replacement and it does so without raising taxes.

Additional information:

- Go here for a sample resolution. It’s important to note that it is legal for local government bodies to approve resolutions in support of ballot issues as long as no public tax dollars are expended. So resolutions are OK.

- Go here to sign up to support the coalition and receive regular campaign updates.

- Send a letter to your local newspaper in support of Proposal 1. View sample letters here.

- Go here to view additional photos from the recent vote YES on Proposal 1 news conference in Oakland County.

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

A list of communities that have approved resolutions urging residents to vote YES on Proposal 1.

A list of communities that have approved resolutions urging residents to vote YES on Proposal 1.

Please Write Letters to Your Local Newspaper in Support of Proposal 1, Personal Property Tax Reform

ppt-logo-2-dearbornThe letter writing phase of the Vote Yes on Proposal 1 campaign is now in full swing and the Michigan Municipal League has made it as easy as possible for you to send letters to the editor of your local newspapers. We’ve written four sample letters for you to choose from here in our Action Center. Just fill out the information and the Action Center will do the rest, including emailing the letter to your local paper.

Background: The League encourages Michigan communities to support Proposal 1 on the August 5, 2014 ballot. This is the proposal that completes the reform of the Personal Property Tax (PPT) and represents months of negotiations and work by the League on behalf of our member communities. This proposal does NOT RAISE TAXES, but it does provide a more stable revenue source for community services, such as police and fire protection, roads, schools, libraries and other essential programs.

The League, as part of the Michigan Strong & Safe Communities coalition, encourages all member communities to join us in endorsing this proposal. In addition to writing letters, please do these things:

1. Have your council/commission/board pass a resolution in support of Proposal 1. A sample resolution is available here. Check out the other communities that have already passed resolutions here. (It’s important to note that it is legal for local government bodies to approve resolutions in support of ballot issues as long as no public tax dollars are expended. So resolutions are OK.) Send your approved resolutions to the League’s Matt Bach at mml.org and will share them with the media and the coalition.

2. Sign up to receive campaign email alerts at www.StrongAndSafeCommunities.com.

Again, we encourage our members to support the full replacement of PPT dollars with a significantly more stable reimbursement mechanism by voting “yes” on Proposal 1 on the August 5, 2014 ballot. If you have any questions about this ballot proposal please contact the League’s Samantha Harkins at sharkins@mml.org and (517) 908-0306.

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

Community Help Sought on Getting Passage of Proposal 1 on August Ballot to Reform PPT

Support Proposal 1 PPT reform at strongandsafecommunities.com.

Support Proposal 1 PPT reform at strongandsafecommunities.com.

The following letter is from Michigan Municipal League President Jacqueline Noonan, mayor of Utica, to League members. Noonan urges her fellow League members to support Proposal 1 on the Aug. 5, 2014 statewide ballot:

The Michigan Municipal League needs your help in supporting Proposal 1 on the August 5, 2014 ballot. This is the proposal that completes the reform of the Personal Property Tax (PPT) and represents months of negotiations and work by the League on behalf of our member communities. This proposal does NOT RAISE TAXES, but it does provide a more stable revenue source for community services, such as police and fire protection, roads, schools, libraries and other essential programs.

The League, as part of the Strong & Safe Communities coalition, encourages all member communities to join us in endorsing this proposal by taking the following steps:

1. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Four sample letters can be found here.
2. Have your council/commission/board pass a resolution in support of Proposal 1. A sample resolution is available here. Check out the other communities that have already passed resolutions here. (It’s important to note that it is legal for local government bodies to approve resolutions in support of ballot issues as long as no public tax dollars are expended. So resolutions are OK.)

Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly leads a press conference about the need to vote yes on Proposal 1 on the Aug. 5, 2014 ballot.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly leads a press conference about the need to vote yes on Proposal 1 on the Aug. 5, 2014 ballot.


3. Sign up to receive campaign email alerts at www.StrongAndSafeCommunities.com.

Again, we encourage our members to support the full replacement of PPT dollars with a significantly more stable reimbursement mechanism by voting “yes” on Proposal 1 on the August 5, 2014 ballot. If you have any questions about this ballot proposal please contact the League’s Samantha Harkins at sharkins@mml.org and (517) 908-0306.

Thank you for your help with this.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline Noonan
President Michigan Municipal League
Mayor of Utica

League Members Encouraged to Sign Up for Strong and Safe Community Emails on PPT Ballot Question

Go to StrongAndSafeCommunities.com to support the Aug. 5 ballot question that reforms the state's personal property tax.

The Michigan Municipal League is encouraging its members to join us in support the August 5, 2014, ballot proposal, that if approved, would complete much needed reform to the state’s personal property tax. The League is part of the Strong & Safe Communities coalition that is supporting the ballot question.

There are multiple ways League members can support this effort:
1. Sign up to receive campaign email alerts at www.StrongAndSafeCommunities.com
2. Pass a resolution in support of the ballot proposal. A sample resolution is available here. It’s important to note that it is legal for local government bodies to approve resolutions in support of ballot issues as long as no public tax dollars are expended. So resolutions are OK.

The campaign has been in full swing for a couple weeks now and will continue to be active until the election in August. League members, for example, have participated in multiple news conferences and meetings with the editorial boards of local newspapers.

Again, we encourage our members to support the full replacement of PPT dollars with a significantly more stable reimbursement mechanism by voting “yes” on August 5.

If you have question specific to the ballot question and the PPT reform effort contact that League’s Samantha Harkins, Director of State Affairs, at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 734-669-6317.