Urgent – Please contact Michigan Legislators today seeking support of increase to revenue sharing

UPDATE: The 4.8 percent increase is now included in the latest budget agreement so the sample letters to the lawmakers have been removed. Read more about this good news for Michigan communities.

Michigan Municipal League Board President David Lossing sent letters to state senators and representatives Tuesday (May 21, 2013) asking for their support of the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2014 general government budget recommendation, which includes a 4.8-percent increase in funding for statutory revenue sharing, now known as the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP).

The League is asking you to also contact your state lawmakers today on this extremely important issue. To make it convenient, you can use the League’s automated letter service by going here to our Action Center. It is imperative you contact your lawmakers today or tomorrow as we expect a vote on the budget this week or early next week.

While this Senate proposal does not come close to replacing the $6 billion in local revenue sharing cut by Lansing legislators and governors since 2001, it will at least help stop the bleeding and provide desperately needed funds for local police and fire protection, road and bridge maintenance, and other essential local services.

Here is an excerpt of the letter from League President Lossing, mayor of Linden:

As the state’s economy slumped over the past dozen years, past decisions made by the Michigan Legislature to cut local revenue sharing were used to make up for the difference in the state’s budget gap. Now that Michigan is on the rebound, this modest increase to statutory revenue sharing adopted by the Michigan State Senate is reasonable and begins the process of ending fiscal pain felt by many of our communities. Cities and villages across our great state, including the city of Linden, have been tightening our fiscal belts for several years to weather this financial storm.

Now is the time to begin making strategic investments in our communities by increasing statutory revenue sharing in the FY 2013-14 budget, to make “Better Communities, Better Michigan.”

View a version of the Senate letter here. View a version of the House letter here.

The League encourages all our members to contact their lawmakers today on this issue. Feel free to write your own letter and/or use the sample letter provided in our Action Center. You can go here to get the contact information for your state officials.

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

League Encourages State to Put Surplus Toward Restoring Revenue Sharing Cuts

LANSING, Michigan – A report saying the state of Michigan has nearly $400 million has the Michigan Municipal League requesting that the state use some of that surplus to restore massive cuts made to local revenue sharing. A consensus report released today (May 15, 2013) by state economists shows that revenues for the current fiscal year are $396.9 million higher than expected for the general fund for the current 2012-13 fiscal year.

The Michigan Municipal League has responded to this announcement by issuing a press release to media throughout Michigan calling for a portion of that surplus to go back to Michigan communities. View the League’s press release here. View an mlive.com article about the budget surplus that includes mention of the League’s request.

Here’s a portion of the press release:
“Over the past dozen years, the Legislature and governor have cut local revenue sharing by more than $6 billion, breaking promise after promise and ignoring statutes that require the appropriations to local communities,” said Daniel Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League, in the press release. “Instead of appropriating the funds for local services, Lansing used the funds to fill holes in the state budget, to cut taxes, and for other state programs and services. While we recognize the state’s economy was in bad shape, and many state budgets were cut, local revenue sharing paid a far higher price than all the others.”

Gilmartin said the state budget surplus gives the Legislature and governor the opportunity to return some of the cuts they made to local services that keep people safe in their neighborhoods, keep local drinking water clean, maintain local roads and bridges, fund local parks and libraries, and more.

“The state Senate has proposed a 4.8-percent increase in local revenue sharing for the 2014 state budget. Given the anticipated state budget surplus, anything less than that is unacceptable and unconscionable,” Gilmartin said. “I promise that local leaders and their constituents will remember if the Legislature fails to invest part of the surplus to restore some of the massive cuts Lansing has made to revenue sharing and essential local services.”

Gilmartin said that using the surplus to restore cuts to revenue sharing “becomes critical” if the personal property tax (PPT) law passed by the Legislature in December is approved by Michigan voters next year.The PPT law would cut local taxes paid by local businesses to local communities across the state by hundreds of millions of dollars. The law will not take effect unless it is approved by Michigan voters in August 2014. The Legislature has not yet voted to put the question onto the ballot.

Matt Bach is director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (810) 874-1073 and mbach@mml.org.