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.

New CRC Report Further Proof that Michigan’s Municipal Finance System is Broken

The Michigan Municipal League released a media statement today about a new report from the Citizens Research Council showing that state tax revenues increased by $1.2 billion from 2009 to 2012, while local tax revenues declined by $1.1 billion in the same time period.

Here is a portion of our statement from League President and Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan, which can also be viewed here:

This is further proof that the state has balanced its budget on the backs of local communities while at the same time placing additional requirements, stipulations and bureaucratic red tape on local governments in the form of the cumbersome and problematic Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP).

“Simply put, these findings are an outrage,” said Noonan. “The state continues to divert revenue sharing away from local governments while the state’s surplus grows to nearly a billion dollars. After taking our money, the state then has the audacity to criticize Michigan’s cities and villages for not operating efficiently. It would be like someone taking money out of your wallet and then a day later penalizing you for not having any money. The partnership between state and local governments is broken, and it’s time to fix it.”

The Michigan Municipal League calls on the Legislature to fix the broken partnership between the state and communities and to work together to create the places where people want to live, work, play and create jobs.

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

Act Now: Call Lawmakers and Tell Them to Oppose Proposed Changes to EVIP, Revenue Sharing

The Michigan Municipal League is asking our League members to contact their state lawmakers today to oppose changes to the revenue sharing/Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP). These changes were approved in the House Appropriations General Government Subcommittee this morning (March 25, 2014) and are expected to go to the House floor this week for a vote. It’s imperative our members tell their legislators to oppose this action.

To learn about these proposed changes, read this blog post by the League’s Samantha Harkins.

When contacting your lawmakers here are some key points to make:

- The intent of revenue sharing dollars is to help communities fund essential services their residents desire, such as police and fire protection, water and sewer service, snow removal, infrastructure improvements, etc.

- The proposed changes would expand the EVIP program to nearly 1,500 local governments, including 1,035 townships.

- We question why the program is being expanded to local units of governments that don’t provide essential services that cities, villages and urban townships provide.

- The proposal changes how EVIP funds are distributed to a per capita formula. This formula would add hundreds of additional communities to the formula without any consideration of whether these communities provide essential services.

- The League is happy to have a discussion about the best way to get resources to our communities; however, a pure per capita distribution will have a detrimental effect on the many Michigan communities who provide essential services while rewarding those communities who do not.

- The proposal requires local units of government to commit increased EVIP funds to road maintenance and unfunded liabilities. This “one-size-fits-all-mentality” is the ultimate rebuff of local control. Local units of government are careful stewards of taxpayer dollars and know and understand the priorities of their community and residents. The Legislature dictating how funds are spent does not take into account other important needs for funding. Perhaps roads and unfunded liabilities are the best place for this money to be spent in one community but not another. That is up to the local community to decide.

The League appreciates all that you can do in sharing the concerns about this proposal. If you have any questions about this please contact the League’s Samantha Harkins at sharkins@mml.org and (517) 908-0306.

Media Throughout Michigan Report on Great Revenue Sharing Heist Study by Michigan Municipal League

League members talk with the media at a press event about revenue sharing at EVIP March 18 in Lansing.

Media from all parts of Michigan have reported on the Michigan Municipal League’s revenue sharing study that showed the state has diverted $6.2 billion from local communities in the last decade. The League released the study last week during our Capital Conference and sent press releases to dozens of media outlets.

Here is a sampling of some of the articles done so far:
- Michgian cities slam state for holding onto $6.2 billion: Detroit News

- Michigan’s $6.2 billion raid on revenue sharing? See how much local communities lost since 2003: mlive.com statewide

- Wyandotte’s deficit tied to decline in state revenue sharing: The News Heard, the Voice of Downriver

- Revenue sharing could have kept Lincoln Park out of financial crisis, officials say: The News Heard, the Voice of Downriver

- Macomb cities lost more than $100 million due to state cuts: Macomb Daily Tribune

- Michigan Municipal League says Legislature diverted funding; Midland loses $10.9 million: Midland Daily News

- Our View: State turning corner on revenue sharing: Midland Daily News editorial

- Report says Flint lost out on nearly $55 million in revenue sharing in last decade: Flint Journal/mlive.com

- Six things Flint could have paid for with $55 million in revenue sharing: Flint Journal/mlive.com

- Michigan Cities contend lost $6.2 billion in lost revenue: Metro Times, Detroit

The League study showed that communities from Marquette to St. Joseph and everywhere in between are among the Michigan cities and villages that lost hundreds of millions of dollars in statutory revenue sharing over the past decade because the governor and Legislature diverted the funds to the state budget.

If the funds had not been diverted by state lawmakers, the fiscal crises facing many local Michigan communities today might not be so severe.

Statutory revenue sharing funds are earmarked by state law for local communities across Michigan to support essential local services including police and fire, water systems, road maintenance, parks and libraries, and more. The funds represent a percentage of sales tax revenues collected at the local levels. Instead, between 2003 and 2013, the governor and Legislature diverted $6.2 billion in statutory revenue sharing from local communities to plug holes in the state budget and to pay for tax cuts for businesses.

Much of this data was also included in the March/April 2014 edition of the Michigan Municipal League Review magazine for an article titled, “The Great Revenue Sharing Heist” by Anthony Minghine, associate executive director and chief operations officer for the Michigan Municipal League. The article is available at mml.org: http://www.mml.org/advocacy/great-revenue-sharing-heist.html.

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