League Board Unanimously Supports Michigan Road Funding Ballot Proposal on May 5

League Vice President Nathan Triplett and President Dick Bolen listen to Governor Snyder discuss the state's road funding ballot initiative. The board voted to support the effort going before voters May 5.
League Vice President Nathan Triplett and President Dick Bolen listen to Governor Snyder discuss the state’s road funding ballot initiative. The board voted to support the effort going before voters May 5.

The Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees met with Governor Snyder on Friday, January 23, and following that discussion unanimously agreed to support the May 5 ballot proposal. The Board of Trustee believes that this proposal to support Michigan’s roads, schools and cities, is in the best interest of Michigan’s communities. The League will be taking an active role as an organization to help ensure its passage.

Support for the May 5th ballot proposal was based on the following factors:

  • The proposal provides for a sustainable long-term investment in Michigan’s infrastructure that includes $1.2 billion for roads and bridges, and more than $100 million for transit on an annual basis.
  • The proposal would also increase constitutional revenue sharing by more than $100 million annually.
  • Combined, this investment in Michigan’s transportation network and communities represents a significant step forward in building attractive and vibrant places.
Members of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees listen to Governor Snyder discuss the state's road funding ballot initiative. The board voted to unanimously support the effort going before voters May 5.

Members of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees listen to Governor Snyder discuss the state’s road funding ballot initiative. The board voted to unanimously support the effort going before voters May 5.

In the coming weeks the League will be working with other supporters help develop and implement a “Yes” campaign for Proposal 1.

Stay tuned for specifics ways your community can get involved and for information on the specific fiscal impact to each municipality.

Go here for additional photos from Friday’s board meeting featuring Governor Snyder.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation and infrastructure issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

League’s John LaMacchia Participates in Road Funding Bill Signing with Governor Snyder

The League's John LaMacchia (left) attends the road funding bill signing Monday.

The League’s John LaMacchia (left) attends the road funding bill signing Monday.

The Michigan Municipal League’s John LaMacchia II was among the dignitaries invited to the official signing of the road funding package approved by the Legislature last month. Governor Rick Snyder signed the bills during an event in Lansing Monday afternoon.

Late in December, the House and Senate put together the framework for a comprehensive long-term solution for investing in Michigan’s infrastructure. Although the Michigan Municipal League would have liked the Legislature to solve this problem independently, they approved a ballot proposal that will be put before the voters in May 2015. Read the lame duck recaps on Inside 208, the League’s legislative blog.

Read this blog for details on the road funding package.

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

Governor Snyder Announces Bipartisan Deal on Transportation Funding

The League supports a transportation funding solution that covers all forms of transportation, not just roads.

The League supports a transportation funding solution that covers all forms of transportation, not just roads.

Governor Snyder announced today (Dec. 18, 2014) that he and legislative leaders have come to an agreement on transportation funding. All votes from the House and Senate are expected today.

The plan calls for several statutory changes and is heavily reliant on a 1% increase in sales tax that will be put on the ballot May 2015. If all is approved, it will raise about $1.3 billion annually for roads and transit. The package also includes additional funding for local governments outside of the road funding formula.

The League and its partners are still combing through the details of the plan and we will have a full analysis to the members as soon as possible.

Here are some of the details that have emerged: This is a comprehensive proposal to address the dramatic shortfall that exists in Michigan’s transportation system. The announced plan is contingent upon voter approval, but provides significant new money do address our deteriorating transportation system.  Some key funding components of the plan include:

  • $1.2 billion annually of new money for roads
  • $94 million of new money for local government
  • $112 million for transit
  • $300 million for schools

Click here for a decent breakdown of the transportation funding plan, with additional details, by the Associated Press.

League members with additional questions about the plan can contact the League’s John LaMacchia II a jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

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

 

Transportation Funding Talks Ongoing: Stay Tuned, We May Need You

The League supports a comprehensive transportation funding solution that services all modes of transportation, including roads, rails, trails, and ports.

The League supports a comprehensive transportation funding solution that services all modes of transportation, including roads, rails, trails, and ports.

Usually the term is “hurry up and wait,” but this week when it comes to transportation funding in Lansing it’s more like “wait and possibly hurry up.”

That’s the situation currently at the state Capitol. Michigan legislators have been meeting behind closed doors to come up with a transportation funding package. The Michigan Municipal League is anxiously waiting to see what they’ll come up with. Once the League learns what the proposal is we could very well be asking our members to do a “hurry up and do XYZ” scenario. So we’re asking our members to be in stand-by mode and ready to make phone calls and send emails if necessary.

Of course, we’re hoping the lawmakers come up with a transportation funding solution that does not negatively impact communities. If that happens, we may ask you to contact your lawmakers in support of the plan.

Here are some links to recent blogs we’ve written on the issue that explain what’s happened up to this point:

Dec. 12: Transportation Funding Bills Sent to Conference

Dec. 9: League Needs Your Help on Transportation Issue

Dec. 8: Ask Michigan Senators to Pass Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan

Related: Bills Requiring Regulation of Transportation Network Companies Dead This Session!

For questions regarding the transportation funding issue, contact the League’s John LaMacchia II at jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

House Committee Denies League Chance to Testify Against HB 5977; So We Posted a Video

This morning the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness refused to hear our testimony in opposition to House Bill 5977. So we did a video of what we would have said and posted it on the internet and on our social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter).

This is an extremely harmful piece of  legislation that would prohibit local units of government from creating a “community benefits ordinance”. The League vehemently opposes this bill because it is an egregious violation of local control.

Currently, Michigan communities are allowed to negotiate with developers and contractors when developing certain parcels of property. A developer, for example, may ask for a tax break and the city, in return for the tax break, could have the developer expand or repave a road or street that will service the new project. The city, in exchange for grants, tax abatements or other economic development incentives, could ask the developer to hire local workers, pay a certain level of wages or benefits and engage certain subcontractors or local businesses.

This give-and-take-type of negotiations is common and extremely beneficial to a community. However, this legislation would end all that and drastically tie the hands of local governments. The bill would prohibit a local government from creating a community benefits ordinance and doing negotiations for the betterment of the community. Imagine a roofer coming to your house and you not being able to negotiate the price of the new roof, the color, the type of materials used or anything to do with that roof. That’s what this bill does.

The committee first met on this issue last week and met again on it this morning. We were expecting to testify but weren’t allowed and instead the committee reported the bill to the full House. Please contact your legislator and ask him or her to oppose!

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.

League Needs Your Help on Transportation Issue This Week

The League supports a comprehensive transportation-funding solution that supports all forms of transportation, not just roads.

The League supports a comprehensive transportation-funding solution that supports all forms of transportation, not just roads.

This week is likely to be very busy in Lansing when it comes to transportation funding and the League will need your help. Many of you have already contacted your lawmakers on this issue in recent days, but we need you to keep the pressure on. Stay tuned to our Inside 208 blog for the most up-to-date information and calls to action.

Here is what we know as of today:

  1. There are two transportation funding plans being considered. One is the Senate-approved plan that the League supports because it provides additional funding for our complete transportation system. The second is the House-approved plan that the League opposes because it would shift dollars away from local governments, schools, transit and the general fund into roads. The House plan relies on projected increases in economic growth to make up for lost revenue, which simply isn’t reliable.
  2. A new transportation funding vote could take place in the Senate this week.
  3. The League will oppose any plan that puts funding to municipalities at risk.

Here is what the League would like you to do this week:

  1. Contact you state senators asking them to reject the House transportation plan and pass the transportation-funding solution approved by the Senate on Nov. 13. GO HERE to our Action Center to get their contact information and send a sample email that we’ve prepared for you. Talking points for your state senators: A. We need to fix the roads and our transportation system without hurting local governments, schools and public transit. B. We stand behind Governor Snyder and his desire to solve this road-funding problem with new revenue. Taking money from others is not the right solution. C. The Legislature should not solve the road funding problem by reducing revenue sharing and relying on “projected economic growth” forecasts to make up for lost revenue. This is a risk we cannot afford.
  2. Contact your state representatives to express your opposition to the House-approved plan. Ask them to oppose any transportation-funding plan that is potentially harmful financially to municipalities, schools and public transit. Feel free to thank those representatives who voted against the House-plan. And for those who voted for the House-plan ask them why they are willing to put at risk funding to schools, municipalities and public transit? Below is a list of how the representatives voted on this short-sighted and irresponsible House plan.
  3. League Board Member Nathan Triplett (right) on Fox 2 Detroit's Let It Rip.

    League Board Member Nathan Triplett (right) on Fox 2 Detroit’s Let It Rip.

    To help craft your responses, check out a recent interview League Board Vice President and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett did on Fox 2 Detroit. On the “Let It Rip” program with Rep. Anthony Forlini, Triplett did an excellent job discussing why the Senate proposal is best, how the House plan would hurt communities, schools and transit, and why additional revenue is needed to support a comprehensive transportation plan. To hear Triplett’s responses to hard-hitting questions, watch segment 1 and segment 2 from the show.

How representatives voted on the House plan (info from this Detroit Free Press article):

House Bill 4539 — removes the 6% sales tax on fuel sales over a six-year phase-in. It passed 56-53

Voting yes: Jase Bolger, R-Marshall; John Bumstead, R-Newaygo; Mike Callton, R-Nashville; Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant; Hugh Crawford, R-Novi; Kevin Daley, R-Attica; Cindy Denby; R-Fowlerville; Jeff Farrington, R-Utica; Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Townshiip; Frank Foster, R-Pellston; Ray Franz, R-Onekama; Ben Glardon, R-Owosso; Ken Goike, R-Ray Township; Joseph Graves, R-Argentine Township; Gail Haines, R-Waterford; Joe Haveman, R-Holland; Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth; Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center; Martin Howrylak, R-Troy; Bradford Jacobsen, R-Oxford; Nancy Jenkins, R-Clayton; Joel Johnson, R-Clare; Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw; Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township; Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake; Kenneth Kurtz, R-Coldwater;Andrea LaFontaine, R-Richmond; Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway; Tom Leonard, R-Lansing; Matt Lori, R-Constantine; Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township; Lisa Lyons, R-Alto; Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford; Greg MacMaster, R-Kewadin; Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan; Michael McCready, R-Birmingham; Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills; Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton; Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage; Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes; Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle; Earl Poleski, R-Jackson; Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac; Amanda Price, R-Holland; Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville; Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City; Bill Rogers, R-Brighton; Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City; Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake; Pat Somerville, R-New Boston; Jim Stamas, R-Midland; Robert VerHeulen, R-Walker; Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville; John Walsh, R-Livonia; Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia; Dale Zorn, R-Ida.

Voting no: Theresa Abed, D-Grand Ledge; Brian Banks, D-Grosse Pointe Woods; Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills; Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids; Terry Brown, D-Pigeon; Charles Brunner, D-Bay City; Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford Township; Paul Clemente, D-Lincoln Park; Tom Cochran, D-Mason; George Darany, D-Dearborn; Scott Dianda, D-Calumet; Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids; Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline; Fred Durhal, D-Detroit; Pam Faris, D-Clio; Douglas Geiss, D-Taylor; Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck; Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills; Harold Haugh, D-Roseville; Rudy Hobbs, D-Lathrup Village; Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon; Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor; Andrew Kandrevas, D-Southgate; John Kivela, D-Marquette; David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights; Robert Kosowski, D-Westland; Collene Lamonte, D-Montague; Marilyn Lane, D-Fraser; Bill LaVoy, D-Monroe; Ellen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods; Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo; Paul Muxlow, R-Brown City; David Nathan, D-Detroit; Stacy Oakes, D-Saginaw; Dave Pagel, R-Berrien Springs; Phil Phelps, D-Flint; Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores; Rose Robinson, D-Detroit; David Rutledge, D-Ypsilanti; Harvey Santana, D-Detroit; Andy Schor, D-Lansing; Kate Segal, D-Battle Creek; Sam Singh, D-East Lansing; Dian Slavens, D-Canton Township; Charles Smiley, D-Burton; Thomas Stallworth, D-Detroit; Woodrow Stanley; D-Flint; Jon Switalski, D-Warren; Alberta Talabi, D-Detroit; Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit; Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak; Henry Yanez, D-Sterling Heights; Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor.

Not voting: John Olumba, I-Detroit.

For questions on this transportation-funding issue, contact at the League’s John LaMacchia II at (517) 908-0303 or jlamacchia@mml.org.

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

Ask Your Michigan Senators to Pass Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan

There are many transit options in Michigan and the state needs a comprehensive funding plan that will support all of them.
There are many transit options in Michigan and the state needs a comprehensive funding plan that will support all of them.

The Michigan Municipal League needs every mayor, manager, council member and municipal employee to call their state Senators today and ask them to reject the House transportation plan and pass the transportation-funding solution approved by the Senate on Nov. 13.

The Senate’s plan provides real support for our complete transportation system. The House proposal, passed late Thursday without a single Democratic vote, would shift dollars away from local governments, schools, transit and the general fund into roads.

The House plan relies on projected revenue increases, wouldn’t allow communities to benefit from a growing economy, and claims it would “hold communities harmless.” But we’ve played this game with revenue sharing dollars. The League has very serious concerns and we need your help to express our strong opposition to this proposal.  Shifting money over to road funding is not a comprehensive solution to the road funding problem. For additional details on the two plans go here.

Call your Senators today and tell them to support the Senate plan and oppose the House proposal. Go here to our Action Center to get their contact information. Here are some talking points to use when calling them:

  • We need to fix the roads and our transportation system without hurting local governments, schools and public transit.
  • We stand behind Governor Snyder and his desire to solve this road-funding problem with new revenue. Taking money from others is not the right solution.
  • The legislature should not solve the road funding problem by reducing revenue sharing and relying on “projected economic growth” forecasts to make up for lost revenue. This is a risk we cannot afford.

    East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett talks transit on Let It Rip.

    East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett talks transit on Let It Rip.

To help craft your responses, check out a recent interview League Board Vice President and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett did on Fox 2 Detroit. On the “Let It Rip” program with Rep. Anthony Forlini, Triplett did an excellent job discussing why the Senate proposal is best, how the House plan would hurt communities, schools and transit, and why additional revenue is needed to support a comprehensive transportation plan. To hear Triplett’s responses to hard-hitting questions, watch segment 1 and segment 2 from the show.

If you have additional questions, please contact the League’s John LaMacchia II at 517-908-0303 or at jlamacchia@mml.org.

League Distributes Letters to the Editor in Support of Transportation Funding Package

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

The Michigan Municipal League sent to the media this week a series of letters to the editor to encourage the state House to approve the transportation funding package passed in the Senate on Nov. 13. The House is considering a couple different transportation funding options and we want the state Representatives to show the same courage as the Senate and pass the comprehensive funding plan that includes HB 5477. Governor Snyder also supports this plan.

The letters were co-penned by people you might not normally see working together, but they’ve found common ground when it comes to getting additional funding to fix Michigan’s failing infrastructure. The letters maintained that increased funding is needed to all forms of transportation (roads, rails, trails, bridges, harbors, non-motorized facilities, and public transit) in order to help build communities where people want to live, work and play.

For example, we sent a letter jointly authored by East Lansing Mayor and MSU alum Nathan Triplett, vice president of the League board; and Ann Arbor Mayor and UM alum Christopher Taylor. The letter starts out with, “As mayors of East Lansing and Ann Arbor, when it comes to college sports there isn’t a whole lot we agree on. But when it comes to the pressing need for increased investment in our state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, we are in total agreement: the time for legislative action is now.”

Other letters were written by the presidents of the Michigan Municipal League Board (Wakefield Mayor Pro Tem Dick Bolen) and Michigan Townships Association Board (Arcada Township Supervisor Doug Merchant); and the mayors of two Michigan cities that are more than 640 driving miles apart – Ironwood’s Kim Corcoran, a member of the League board, and Luna Pier’s David Davison.

We are already getting some traction in the media from the letters so stay tuned to mml.org for links and information about that as it happens. Check out the letter by Triplett and Taylor in the Lansing City Pulse and the letter by Corcoran and Davison in the Battle Creek Enquirer, the Macomb Daily Tribune and the Detroit News.

We’re also encouraging our members to contact their state Reps this week to ask them to approve the package passed in the Senate. You can go here to our Action Center to look up your Reps’ contact information and send them a sample email we’ve prepared for you.

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

 

Contact Michigan Senators Today to Urge Their Support of Transportation Funding Increase

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

There are many transit options in Michigan and a complete transportation funding program would support all of them.

Discussions are currently taking place in Lansing on finding a way to raise new revenue for Michigan’s transportation network during the current lame duck legislative session.

House Bill 5477 is a key piece to this new revenue.

It would switch the current cents per gallon tax on fuel to a percentage based tax on the wholesale price and gradually increase that percentage over the next several years.

The proposed funding solution is a nine-bill package that would provide yearly increases to transportation funding and would reach $1.5 billion in new annual revenue by 2020.

Legislators have an incredible opportunity to solve Michigan’s transportation needs and develop a comprehensive solution for investing in Michigan’s infrastructure.

Michigan can no longer wait for a comprehensive transportation funding plan.

Michigan can no longer wait for a comprehensive transportation funding plan.

This plan would not only invest in roads and bridges, but would provide additional funds for public transit, trails, ports, and rail. Download the Michigan Can’t Wait flyer.

The Senate could take this up for a vote as soon as Thursday (Nov. 13, 2014) and we need your help. Please contact your Senator and let them know that you are supportive of increasing transportation revenue and the positive impact it will have on your community. We are on the verge transforming our transportation system and you can help ensure its successful passage.

To make it as easy as possible for you, we’ve drafted a sample email that you can edit and send to your senators.

To access this tool, go to our action center here and click on the item in the blue Action Alert! box.

A comprehensive transportation funding system is one of the four key parts of the Michigan Municipal League’s Partnership for Place initiative released in 2013. Read more about why this is important here.

This blog post was by John LaMacchia II, legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League. John can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

Bad News: Public Act 54 Amendment Likely to Pass Senate This Week

House Bill 5097 is on the Michigan Senate agenda for this week, and it will likely pass overwhelmingly. The governor is supportive and is expected to sign this legislation. The Michigan Municipal League needs your help and requests that you contact your state senators today demanding they VOTE NO on HB 5097. This is a bill that would exempt police and fire from Public Act 54 so that they can have retroactive pay increases after a contract expires.

The Senate has already passed a similar bill, and the governor’s office has been pushing for this legislation to pass. This bill undoes the most effective reform passed by the Legislature in 2011.

The Michigan Municipal League strongly opposes this bill due to the detrimental financial implications for our communities. It’s highly important that you contact your senators now as a vote is expected as early as this morning. We’re out of time for emails, so please call your lawmakers this morning. Get the phone number for your senators here. Please call them even if you contacted them earlier this year on this issue.

Background: In 2011 the legislature passed a number of reforms to help employers control costs and be better stewards of taxpayer resources. One of the, if not the, most significant reform was to prohibit retroactive pay increases after a contract has expired. This game changing statute, PA 54 of 2011, has helped communities settle contracts more quickly and provides more certainty in municipal budgets. Passage of HB 5097 would be detrimental to our ability to settle contracts quickly and efficiently. Now public safety groups pushing this bill argue that the number of Public Act 312 filings would proliferate and the legislature only intended this bill to impact teachers.

HOWEVER, according to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission there were only 43 PA 312 filings in 2013 as opposed to 69 in 2011. PA 312 filings are significantly lower than they were before enactment of PA 54. In addition, even if the legislature only intended this for teachers, it has been a game changer for municipal budgets, and it’s critical that we keep this tool to allow local units the opportunity to settle contracts expeditiously and save taxpayers money.

Talking points: Here are a few bullet items to follow when contacting your state Senators:

  • Please oppose HB 5097
  • You’re trying to fix something that’s not broken
  • Passing this legislation results in eliminating the most effective labor reform passed in 2011 and is inconsistent with all of the reforms passed including PA 152 and PA 312 reforms.
  • Maybe this was intended just for teachers, but it’s helped cities tremendously
  • The state has cut more than $6 billion in revenue sharing to communities in the last decade so we need every dollar we can get to provide the essential services our residents expect
  • So can I count on your NO vote?

If you have additional questions please contact Samantha Harkins, is director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League, at sharkins@mml.org or 517-908-0306.