Gov. Snyder presented his Fiscal Year 2014 budget today with a guaranteed funding increase for cities, villages, and townships (CVTs), while again disproportionately cutting revenue sharing to county government.
“It’s disappointing that the state continues to punish counties by consistently cutting their revenue sources,” said Thomas Bardwell, President of the Michigan Association of Counties (M.A.C.) Board of Directors. “What they fail to realize is that counties cannot continue to provide all the services the state mandates if there is no funding for those services.”
Ignoring the statutory commitment to fund counties at the level required has become a habitual practice for the state. Counties are already stretched to their financial limit, making it difficult for them to pay for the multitude of state mandated services including the courts, jails, 911, indigent defense, sheriffs, constitutional officers, elections and the public health system.
CVTs have been provided a 4% budget increase, and though it appears that funding for counties remains flat compared to last year, three additional counties are scheduled to come back into the revenue sharing formula this year, which current funding levels do not account for.
Counties have saved the state more than a billion dollars since 2005 when they gave up revenue sharing temporarily. This was in an effort to help the state with its budget problem, and the state promised a return of that funding once reserves were depleted. Counties will continue to help the state budget until the final county exhausts its reserve account well past the year 2020.
The current model of mandating counties to deliver services on behalf of the state government without paying for those services is unsustainable. Counties look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to make sure that mandated services are funded.