Senate OKs Brownfield Redevelopment Bills

On Wednesday the Senate passed a five-bill package (SB 111, SB 112, SB 113, SB 114 & SB 115) which would allow “transformational” redevelopment projects to capture state tax when a gap is identified between the financial viability of a development project and the cost of building that development.

The legislation requires a certain level of private investment from each project based on the population size of the community the project will be located in. The League worked closely with the bill sponsor and stakeholders to have the investment threshold lowered for the lowest population group so more communities would have the opportunity for a transformational project if the legislation is enacted.

In addition to the private investment, a project must show a net economic benefit and get approval from the local unit of government, where the project will be located, before it would be eligible for state tax capture. Only one project could be approved in a community per year, and the total tax capture the state authorizes cannot exceed $40 million per year.

The legislation now moves to the House and has been referred to the Committee on Tax Policy.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Early Morning Income Tax Vote Comes Up Short

After over 12 hours of behind the scenes negotiations, the Michigan House ended up voting down a third alternative for an income tax cut in the early hours of Thursday morning.  The amendments that were proposed to HB 4001 H-3 would have lowered the state’s income tax rate from 4.25% down by .1% per year for the next two years and then any further reduction down to 3.9% would have been conditioned on the state’s Rainy Day Fund having a balance of at least $1 billion.  If fully phased down as proposed, the legislation would have sliced more than $1.1 billion from the state’s General Fund revenues.  Once the final vote was tallied, the amended version only had 52 supporters, with 55 members voting against the measure (see page 4 of the linked pdf to see how each legislator voted).

The Municipal League was joined in opposition to this legislation by a broad coalition of organizations and individuals, including Governor Snyder.  As an organization we are extremely thankful for everyone who engaged with their State Representative this week, urging them to protect revenue sharing and local government services and opposing this bill.  We encourage you to reach back out to those legislators who voted No and thank them for their vote.

While the bill was defeated this morning, it is possible that the vote could be reconsidered in the coming weeks, so please be prepared to re-engage with legislators should this bill come back up.

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

League Testifies on Need to Restore Revenue Sharing

The House Appropriations subcommittee on General Government, which includes the appropriation for revenue sharing, met yesterday to begin their consideration of Governor Snyder’s budget recommendation for the upcoming 2017-18 fiscal year.  This week’s subcommittee hearing centered on revenue sharing and the Municipal League was invited to present our position on revenue sharing to the eight-member subcommittee.

The Governor recently recommended, for the third straight year, that statutory revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships remain flat, at $248.8 million.  The Governor cited an estimated 2.3% expected growth in sales tax revenue to boost Constitutional payments, despite the shortcomings of those same estimates in the budget year that just ended last fall (Constitutional revenue sharing payments fell by nearly $1 million compared to the previous FY).  In his original presentation, the Governor also pointed to the $109 million in additional revenue that local units of government received from the new personal property tax reimbursement process as a reason why he was not restoring dollars into revenue sharing, something which the League quickly responded should not be counted as a proxy for the many years of budget cuts and neglect.

Following a historical overview of the revenue sharing program from the House Fiscal Agency, the Municipal League used our opportunity to address the subcommittee by explaining the important role that revenue sharing plays in every community’s budget. We walked the legislators through the limited resources that communities have available to provide critical services and how this broken system has been disconnected from the economic recovery that the state’s budget has experienced in recent years and the critical need that exists for this budget to include additional funding for revenue sharing, above the Governor’s recommendation.  You can view a copy of the League’s presentation here – Gen Govt SubCommittee-Feb 2017.

Following our testimony, the Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Association of Counties also addressed the subcommittee urging their support for additional funding.  The subcommittee will continue hearings over the coming weeks with their recommendation due around the spring break.

Please contact your legislator and urge them to support increased funding for revenue sharing.

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

Michigan Rural Task Force Conference

MDOT is pleased to announce the first annual Michigan Rural Task Force Conference. The conference will be held in Mt. Pleasant at the Comfort Inn located at 2424 S. Mission, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 beginning at 1:00 pm.

Please click on the following link for the conference agenda. RTF Conference 2017 Agenda

To attend please RSVP to Anna Swanson; swansona1@michigan.gov  no later than March 23, 2017. If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Pamela Boyd (517) 335-2803; boydp1@michigan.gov, or Andy Brush (517) 335-2534; brusha@michigan.gov.

For hotel information please click here.

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.

New MSHDA Grant to Fund Neighborhood Placemaking

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently announced a request for proposals (RFP) for a new “Neighborhood Enhancement Program” which provides communities an opportunity to fund placemaking projects in priority neighborhoods. MSHDA worked with the League and other statewide partners to develop the program, and they are eager to receive creative and innovative proposals in three main categories: beautification, public amenities and infrastructure enhancement. MSHDA, in the first year of this program, is interpreting those categories broadly.

Cities must work through a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to apply. Proposals are due March 15. For complete details, visit the MSHDA website.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

House Committee Reports Bill Eliminating State Income Tax

 

A plan to eliminate the state’s income tax was voted out of a House committee Wednesday morning. The first full fiscal year impact of this plan would reduce the state’s General Fund by over $1.1 billion, or roughly 10%.  The Michigan Municipal League is actively opposed to this proposal as it could jeopardize the essential services that Michigan citizens rely on, such as police and fire protection, schools and roads.

We need your help to oppose this bill by contacting your State Representatives and letting them know how this proposal will hurt your community and their constituents.

The House Tax Policy committee reported House Bill 4001, a complete repeal of Michigan’s 4.25% personal income tax.  The state income tax brings in more than $9 billion towards the FY16-17 state budget…about 70% of the state’s current $10.8 billion General Fund and more than 20% of the $12.6 billion School Aid Fund.  While the bill would phase out the income tax by .1% per year over about 40 years, the initial reduction would move the rate to 3.9% on January 1, 2018.  The first full, fiscal year impact of over $1.1 billion would occur in FY18-19.

Supporters in committee cited the state’s current estimated budget surplus and previous statutory changes lowering the rate to 3.9% that were never implemented as reasons to move this bill.  It is expected that the House majority will propose an alternative to the Governor’s recommended budget that will reflect the cuts necessary to achieve the reductions that this change would require.

When a similar conversation took place in Lansing in 2015 as part of the road funding debate, MML commissioned a report to examine the impact of a proposed $350-700 million diversion of GF/GP dollars towards road funding would mean to the rest of the state’s budget.  The results of that analysis were not pretty and those same concerns hold true today…items of direct interest to municipalities like revenue sharing, PPT reimbursement dollars, PILT payments, fire protection grants, distressed community grants, and community development funding were all identified as programs that would be at risk in a scenario where the state General Fund undergoes this type of reduction. In addition, the final product of the road funding deal, which obligates an eventual $600 million of income tax dollars will never be able to be met if the income tax is eliminated.

Following opposition from the State Treasurer, the education community and the MI League for Public Policy, the MML joined in testimony against this proposal, urging the committee to consider the budget consequences of such a reduction.

Michigan’s broken fiscal model for local governments simply will not allow for any additional cuts to state support for municipalities.  The League continues to advocate for full restoration of revenue sharing.  This proposal would eliminate any ability for that reinvestment to occur.  While the legislature may view this as a policy debate, a decision of this magnitude will have real-life consequences for every resident of this state.

The bill passed committee on a 7-4 party line vote, with two Republican members abstaining.  It is very likely that the full House will move on this bill quickly now that it is on the floor, possibly ahead of any matching alternative budget proposal.  Please contact your State Representative today and let them know of your concerns about how such a drastic reduction in state revenues will impact the residents and services in your community.

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

 

Governor Appoints Task Force on Legacy Costs

Governor Snyder’s office issued a release yesterday announcing his appointments to a municipal retirement benefits reform task force he alluded to during his recent State of the State address.  The 23-member task force includes representation from MML, MTA and MAC, along with representatives from a number of labor groups, legislators from each caucus in the House and Senate, health care and retirement system experts, among others.

The Task Force on Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government has been directed by the Governor to provide their recommendations later this spring.  The League views the Governor’s focus on this issue as a positive. We look forward to a fruitful and thoughtful partnership with all of the members of this task force. We are hopeful that as a group we will work toward sound fiscal policy that preserves benefits for our employees while at the same time allowing critical flexibility for communities.

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

New House Committee Membership Announced

With the kick off of the 99th Legislative Session this month, House Speaker Tom Leonard recently unveiled committee assignments for that chamber.  Of the 110 House members, 22 have backgrounds in municipal government.

A number of these former municipal officials have been appointed as chairs for the Communications & Technology, Local Government, Natural Resources, and Workforce & Talent Development committees, as well as to the vice chair position for the Appropriations committee and as chair of the General Government budget subcommittee with jurisdiction over revenue sharing.

The list below gives the name of the committee, partisan split and the last name of the committee member. Legislators with municipal background are indicated with an asterisk.

Agriculture (7-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Barrett, Vice Chair Alexander, Albert, Calley, Howell*, Frederick*, Lauwers

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Elder*, Kivela*, Phelps, Sabo, Sneller

Appropriations (18-11 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Cox, Vice Chair VerHeulen*, Afendoulis, Allor, Bizon, Brann, Canfield, Hernandez, Inman, Kelly, LaSata, Marino, Miller, Pagel, VanSingel, Victory, Whiteford, Yaroch*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Durhal, Cochran, Faris, Hoadley, LaGrand*, Kosowski*, Pagan, Peterson, Rabhi, Santana, Yanez

Commerce and Trade (9-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Leutheuser, Vice Chair Garcia, Frederick*, Hornberger, Hughes, Iden, Kesto, McCready*, Rendon

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Schor*, Byrd, Camilleri, Cook Scott, Geiss, Greimel

Communications and Technology (7-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Hoitenga*, Vice Chair Griffin, Glenn, Lower*, Runestad, Sheppard, Tedder

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Phelps, Hertel, Lasinski, Jones*

Education Reform (10-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Kelly, Vice Chair Hornberger, Alexander, Crawford*, Garcia, Griffin, Lilly, Noble, Reilly, Roberts

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Zemke, Brinks, Camilleri, Chang, Sowerby

Elections and Ethics (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Miller, Vice Chair Calley, Garcia, Kesto, Lilly, Webber*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Guerra, Moss*, Zemke

Energy Policy (12-7 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Glenn, Vice Chair Hauck, Barrett, Bellino, Cole, Farrington, Griffin, Johnson, LaFave, Lower*, Reilly, Tedder

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Lasinski, Camilleri, Dianda, Elder*, Garrett, Green*, Kivela*

Families, Children and Seniors (7-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Rendon, Vice Chair Noble, Farrington, Hughes, Kahle, McCready*, Roberts

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Liberati, Gay-Dagnogo, Ellison*, Robinson

Financial Liability Reform (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Albert, Vice Chair Reilly, Leutheuser, Lucido, Maturen, McCready*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Wittenberg, Cook Scott, Sneller

Financial Services (5-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Sheppard, Vice Chair Farrington, Lilly, McCready*, VanderWall

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Gay-Dagnogo, Clemente, Green*, Zemke

Government Operations (3-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Chatfield, Vice Chair Lauwers, Barrett

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Singh*, Greig
Health Policy (11-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Vaupel, Vice Chair Tedder, Calley, Farrington, Garcia, Graves, Hauck, Hornberger, Kahle, Noble, Sheppard

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Brinks, Hammoud, Hertel, Garrett, Neeley*, Schor*

Insurance (11-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Theis, Vice Chair Vanderwall, Barrett, Bellino, Glenn, Hoitenga*, LaFave, Runestad, Vaupel, Webber*, Wentworth

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Banks, Gay-Dagnogo, Greimel, Lasinski, Phelps, Wittenberg

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (3-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Johnson, Vice Chair Reilly, Hernandez

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Schor*, Banks

Judiciary (6-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Runestad, Vice Chair Theis, Cole, Hornberger, Howrylak*, LaFave

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Greimel, Guerra, Robinson, Sowerby

Law & Justice (7-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Kesto, Vice Chair Lucido, Albert, Graves, Howrylak*, Roberts, Theis

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Chang, Guerra, Liberati, Robinson, Wittenberg

Local Government (7-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Lower*, Vice Chair Crawford*, Alexander, Frederick*, Hauck, Howell*, Runestad

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Green*, Ellison*, Moss*, Sabo

Michigan Competitiveness (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Chatfield, Vice Chair Lilly, Cole, Rendon, Vaupel, Wentworth

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Geiss, Hammoud, Neeley*

Military and Veterans Affairs (8-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Wentworth, Vice Chair Graves, Albert, Barrett, Glenn, Hoitenga*, Hughes, Johnson

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Sabo, Brinks, Byrd, Elder*, Jones*

Natural Resources (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Howell*, Vice Chair LaFave, Bellino, Maturen, Rendon, VanderWall

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Kivela*, Chang, Sowerby

Oversight (4-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Graves, Vice Chair Howrylak*, Iden, Johnson

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Hertel, Chirkun*

Regulatory Reform (10-6 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Iden, Vice Chair Bellino, Crawford*, Griffin, Hauck, Hoitenga*, Leutheuser, Reilly, Theis, Webber*

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Moss*, Chirkun*, Dianda, Jones*, Liberati, Love

Tax Policy (9-4 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Tedder, Vice Chair Maturen, Howrylak*, Johnson, Kesto, Lower*, Lucido, Kahle, Vaupel

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Byrd, Hammoud, Ellison*, Neeley*

Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (3-2 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Hughes, Vice Chair VanderWall, Sheppard

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Dianda, Clemente

Transportation and Infrastructure (9-5 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Cole, Vice Chair Webber*, Alexander, Calley, Howell*, Lucido, Maturen, Noble, Roberts

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Chirkun*, Banks, Clemente, Love, Sneller

Workforce and Talent Development (6-3 GOP)

Republicans: Chair Frederick*, Vice Chair Kahle, Crawford*, Iden, Leutheuser, Wentworth

Democrats: Minority Vice Chair Love, Cook Scott, Geiss

 

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

Proposals Sought for Beach Water Quality Monitoring Projects

Local governments and nonprofit entities now have the opportunity to apply for $200,000 in support for inland beach water quality monitoring projects. Applications are due by Feb. 28, 2017.

The funds, to be used in fiscal year 2017-2018, are available from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) under the Clean Michigan Initiative-Clean Water Fund. Local government and nonprofit entities are eligible for funding and are encouraged to apply either individually or as part of a group. Successful applicants will be required to share the resulting data with the MDEQ.

The request for proposal is available at www.michigan.gov/waterquality.  The application contains detailed instructions on developing a proposal, MDEQ funding priorities, criteria by which proposals will be evaluated, and the items that should be included with your application. 

For questions regarding the inland beach grants, please contact Shannon Briggs, Water Resources Division, at 517-284-5526, or briggss4@michigan.gov.

 

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Governor Vetos School Billboard Bill

After strong opposition from the League and working with partner organizations MTA, Scenic Michigan and Michigan Association of Planning, as well as direct member outreach, the Governor vetoed SB 953 today! This legislation would have amended the Highway Advertising Act to exempt private commercial uses from zoning when located on a school owned property .

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at jrigterink@mml.org or 517-908-0305.