Michigan Municipal League Asks Members to Pass Resolutions in Support of Proposal 1

A fire truck makes an emergency run over crumbling roads in Macomb County. Vote yes for safe roads on May 5.

A fire truck makes an emergency run over crumbling roads in Macomb County. Vote yes for safe roads on May 5.

(UPDATE: Free webinar on Proposal 1 is Friday for League members. Click here to sign up.)

As you may know, the Michigan Municipal League Board in January unanimously pledged support of Proposal 1 going to the voters on May 5.

Recently the League launched a web page geared toward Michigan’s cities and villages regarding Proposal 1. This web page provides community-specific information about Proposal 1 and its impact on municipalities.

The page has neutral, information-only documents regarding Proposal 1. It also has information on why the League believes you and your residents should vote yes, and documents showing projected road revenue and revenue sharing dollars should Proposal 1 pass.

The League’s page is also tied to the statewide campaign webpage that can be found at saferoadsyes.com.

A school bus travels over bumpy roads. Vote yes for safe roads on May 5.

A school bus travels over bumpy roads. Vote yes for safe roads on May 5.

Your support is essential in getting Proposal 1 passed. There are multiple ways you can help and here are some steps we hope you will take:

- Pass a resolution in support of Proposal 1. We have prepared a sample resolution for you here.

- Send an op-ed or letter to the editor to your local media. There are multiple letter samples to pick from here.

- Sign up at the official campaign website here.

If you have about Proposal 1 please contact the League’s John LaMacchia at 517-908-0303, jlamacchia@mml.org.

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

House Budget Committee Hears Revenue Sharing Presentation

The Citizen’s Research Council unveiled their Reforming Statutory State Revenue Sharing report before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government this morning.  Requested by the subcommittee last year, the report focuses on the history of statutory revenue sharing, the severe declines in state funding of revenue sharing over the past decade and suggestions for how the state could provide for future distribution of those dollars.  The recommendations center around various options for creating a formula for getting funding to the governments with the greatest needs based upon a level of funding sufficient to make a difference.  You can read an executive summary of the report here.

Following the presentation of the report, MML, the MI Association of Counties, and the MI Townships Association were all invited to address the committee and provide our take on the report and revenue sharing overall.  We used this opportunity to hammer home the importance of this funding within municipal budgets and the damage that has been done through the cuts the state has made to revenue sharing.  Our hope is that the CRC report will ignite a serious conversation within the subcommittee and the Legislature overall about making revenue sharing a priority as they make state budget funding decisions.

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

 

Governor Snyder Announces Budget Plan

Governor Snyder today unveiled his plans for handling the current year budget shortfall and the state’s 2016 fiscal year (FY16) budget.  Recognizing the difficulty that the State is experiencing given the current revenue forecasts, the Michigan Municipal League appreciates that funding for local governments was not targeted for additional reductions, but does note that there were other areas of the budget that received additional funding or where investment in new programs were proposed.

The announced plan maintains statutory revenue sharing at currently budgeted levels throughout the remainder of this fiscal year.  Constitutional payments, which automatically rise or fall based on sales tax receipts and only go to cities, villages and townships, are estimated to rise by 3% to $788 million for FY16. This growth represents a $23.8 million increase in the coming year. In addition, the Governor’s proposal continues the current year statutory revenue sharing scheme for cities, villages and townships into FY16 with a recommended $243 million.

The League continues to maintain that the state’s system of funding support for municipalities is broken and in need of reform and this budget proposal does not address that issue. However, considering the state predicts having $532.1 million in less revenue due to cashed-in business tax credits the League is encouraged that statutory revenue sharing remains whole and constitutional revenue sharing continues to increase.

For specific details on the budget proposal, please visit www.michigan.gov/budget. View the League media statement on the budget.

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

 

Governor Snyder Delivers 2015 State of the State Address

Governor Snyder delivered his fifth State of the State speech last night and used the forum to kick off his call for support of the road funding ballot question on May 5th.  Within his speech, he focused on efforts he intends to pursue this year on reforming social service, health and education programs and restructuring certain aspects of state government.  He announced plans to pursue 3rd grade reading improvement and utilize his regional prosperity team concept to better target business and job creation activities and skilled trades training.  The Governor also announced a schedule for upcoming “special messages”, beginning with a special message on energy policy in March, followed by criminal justice and drug abuse prevention messages later in the year.  For more information, please see the following links:

Click here for a video and additional background information for the 2015 State of the State

Click here for a transcript of the 2015 State of the State address

Chris Hackbarth is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or chackbarth@mml.org. 

House Announces Committee Assignments

Following on the heels of yesterday’s opening day of session for the new Legislature, House Speaker Kevin Cotter announced membership this afternoon for the chamber’s 24 standing committees and the 18 Appropriations subcommittees for the 2015-16 legislative session.  Of particular interest to the League’s State Affairs team…

Commerce & Trade  – Graves (Chair), Sheppard (VC), Barrett, Callton, Garcia, Glenn, Hughes, Johnson, Leutheuser, Rendon, Somerville, Jenkins    Schor (Minority VC), Byrd, Garrett, Geiss, Love, Moss, Townsend

Communications & Technology – Jacobsen (Chair), Iden (VC), Barrett, Franz, Glardon, Leutheuser, Outman, Price, Tedder    Phelps (Minority VC), Chirkun, Driskell, Greig, Guerra

Elections  - Lyons (Chair), Leutheuser (VC), Kesto, Heise, Jacobsen    Driskell (Minority VC), Hoadley, Irwin

Energy Policy  – Nesbitt (Chair), Glenn (VC), Barrett, Cole, Hughes, Jacobsen, LaFontaine, Lucido, Maturen, McBroom, Outman, Pettalia, B. Roberts, Sheppard, Webber    LaVoy (Minority VC), Brunner, Byrd, Dianda, Garrett, Kivela, Kosowski, Lane, D. Miller, Plawecki

Local Government  – Chatfield (Chair), Price (VC), Heise, Maturen, Runestad, Sheppard, Theis    Moss (Minority VC), Brunner, Neeley, Rutledge

Regulatory Reform  – Franz (Chair), B. Roberts (VC), Courser, Crawford, Garcia, Iden, Kesto, Lauwers, Yonker    Dianda (Minority VC), Chirkun, Darany, Lane, Moss, Schor

Tax Policy – Farrington (Chair), Maturen (VC), Chatfield, Glenn, Howrylak, Iden, Somerville, Webber, Yonker    Townsend (Minority VC), Byrd, Clemente, LaVoy

Transportation & Infrastructure  – Pettalia (Chair), Glardon (VC), Cole, Farrington, Goike, Jacobsen, Lauwers, Maturen, Yonker, McCready    Lane (Minority VC), Cochran, Dianda, Neeley, Rutledge, Smiley

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government  –  Laura Cox (Chair), Chris Afendoulis, Larry Inman, Earl Poleski    Fred Durhal III (Minority VC), Sam Singh

Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation  – Ed Canfield (Chair), Roger Victory (VC), John Bizon, Tim Kelly, Aaron Miller     Brian Banks (Minority VC), Brandon Dillon

***Democratic members listed in italics

For more background on each of these legislators, please visit – http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/frmRepList.aspx.

Chris Hackbarth is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or chackbarth@mml.org. 

Senate Announces Committee Assignments

The Senate has announced the committee assignments for the 2015/2016 session.  Here is a list of the committees we work with on a more regular basis (D’s in italics).

  • Commerce – Schmidt (chair), Kowall (vice chair), MacGregor, Nofs, Hertel
  • Economic Development & International Investment – Horn (chair), Schmidt (vice chair), Brandenburg, Stamas, Emmons, Smith, Bieda
  • Elections and Government Reform – Robertson (chair), Colbeck (vice chair) Emmons, Shirkey, Hood
  • Energy and Technology – Nofs (chair), Proos (vice chair), Horn, Schuitmaker, Hune, Shirkey, Zorn, Hopgood, Knezek, Smith
  • Local Government – Zorn (chair), Proos (vice chair), Brandenburg, Rocca, Young
  • Regulatory Reform – Rocca (chair), Jones (vice chair), Knollenberg, Kowall, Marleau, Hune, Warren, Hertel, Johnson
  • Transportation – Casperson (chair), Horn (vice chair), Pavlov, Marleau, Hopgood
  • Appropriations: General Government – Stamas (chair), Nofs (vice chair), Booher, Young
  • Appropriations: Transportation – Hansen (chair), Knollenberg (vice chair), Young

For a full list of the committees and their membership, click here.

The House is expected to announce their committee assignments later this week.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

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.

 

Bill Creating a Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act Sent to the Governor

This afternoon House Bill 5397 was sent to the governor after unanimously passing the Senate. This bill creating the Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act and would enable municipalities that own electric utilities to establish a program to help provide financing to residential property owners for energy efficiency projects. This is modeled after the PACE Act.

This legislation passed the full House prior to the legislative recess in June on a 108 to 2 vote.

This is an idea that was brought to Rep. Joe Haveman’s attention by the city of Holland who would like the opportunity to create a program such as this. The League has been supportive of this bill throughout the process and is very pleased that it has been sent to the Governor.

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.

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.

Michigan Water Environment Association to Host Seminar on Infrastructure Project Funding

Utility systems are continually being challenged to provide quality services while budgets are being decreased. This seminar has been developed to provide relevant information to Utility Owners, Managers, Superintendents, and Consultants associated with infrastructure systems. Attendees will be informed of current funding programs and what other utilities are doing to stay ahead of today’s challenges with infrastructure systems.

For more information on this helpful seminar being hosted by the Michigan Water Environment Association please click on the following link. 2015 Infrastructure Postcard

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.