Michigan municipalities get 7 percent more funding


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Local governments will receive a 7
percent boost in revenue-sharing payments from Michigan next fiscal
year, less than what Gov. Rick Snyder had originally proposed, under a
budget plan that won preliminary approval Monday in the state
Overall shared revenue for cities, counties,
townships and villages will go up about $84 million, or 7.4 percent, to
roughly $1.2 billion — less than the 9.7 percent increase in the
governor’s proposal. Lawmakers trimmed the spending increase after
revenue estimates were revised downward in May.
The boost was
still welcome news for officials whose local governments bore steep cuts
during the last decade and a half as sales tax collections lagged and
legislators siphoned off money to deal with budget deficits.
officials also were pleased with the elimination of strings that have
been attached to getting some money in recent years — such as showing
efforts to consolidate services and curb the cost of employee retirement
plans and health care.
"That has been so administratively
burdensome for our members," said Samantha Harkins, state affairs
director for the Michigan Municipal League. "They were already doing
what they had to cut costs because they had to, given the financial
situation all these years."
Under the $50 billion-plus state
budget starting in October — and expected to win final passage this week
in the Republican-led House and Senate — cities, townships and villages
will share $758 million, 2.4 percent more than this year, in sales tax
revenue that the state constitution requires be given to them and over
which Snyder and legislators have no control. They will get another $249
million, or 5.5 percent more, in statutory payments — less than
Snyder’s proposed 15 percent boost.
An additional $8 million will
be set aside for "financially distressed" cities and townships.
Legislators agreed with Snyder’s call to significantly boost payments to
counties, giving 74 eligible counties their maximum funding instead of
the 80 percent ceiling distributed this budget year.
The plan
approved 5-0 by a legislative conference committee also includes $50
million for Michigan’s film incentives program, the same as the past two
years. The GOP governor had proposed cutting it in half to $25 million,
the level it was in his first budget after he scaled back incentives
that were among the most lucrative in the U.S.
Republican Rep.
Earl Poleski of Jackson, who chairs the House general government budget
subcommittee, said he was pleased to start moving to a population-based
formula that will make about 100 more communities eligible for revenue
"All in all, it builds a little more equity into what we
had all viewed to be a really inequitable method of distributing revenue
sharing," he said. "These are the larger townships, any over 7,500
(residents). Those are the sorts of units that provide urban-like
services — police, fire, parks."
The statutory shared revenue is a
nearly 16 percent bump from the first budget Snyder signed. But because
he and lawmakers slashed more than $100 million, or one-third, in
statutory revenue that year to address a projected deficit, it is
roughly 22 percent below the last budget signed by Gov. Jennifer

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