MAC still sees simple, direct election on 1-cent sales tax boost as best way to address roads crisis

transport funds 10-17-14The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) reiterated today its longstanding support for a statewide vote to increase the sales tax by 1 penny, with all new funds generated dedicated to road work.

Jon Campbell, president of the MAC Board of Directors and an Allegan County commissioner, said in the wake of Tuesday’s defeat of Proposal 1:

“Voters in Michigan are telling public servants three things: They want more money for our crumbling roads. They want a direct, simple plan. They want to ensure new revenue is dedicated to roads.

“More than a year ago, the MAC Board of Directors decided the best plan for our state was a 1-penny increase in the sales tax dedicated to roads. We still see it as a simple, direct approach that raises the funds to address the crisis. And, based on the EPIC-MRA poll results released May 5, nearly two-thirds of voters would support it.

“Our membership, 622 county commissioners across the state, is eager to work with the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder to quickly and decisively handle this challenge.”

After Prop 1, MAC turns attention to courts, tax captures

Courts imageVoters in Michigan’s Aug. 5 primary soundly endorsed a proposal to replace the Personal Property Tax now imposed on business equipment across the state.

Proposal 1, a statutory change backed by the Michigan Association of Counties and others to replace the PPT with a formula-based system of state funding, was winning 69 percent of the statewide vote in unofficial results, as of Aug. 6.

“Obviously, we are pleased by Tuesday’s results,” said Steve Currie, MAC deputy director. “Proposal 1 reflected a carefully designed compromise to protect vital funding for county services, while allowing the Legislature to lift the burden of the PPT off Michigan’s small businesses. The voters, aided by a consistent and strong campaign that MAC supported, saw the need to protect funding for the local services they rely on each day.”

Deena Bosworth, MAC director of governmental affairs, sees Proposal 1’s success not as a stopping point, but a springboard to additional reforms this fall.

“Now with the PPT issue completed, legislative attention can, and must, turn to a variety of other issues of highly pressing importance to county government,” she explained. “This fall, for example, we will be pushing for the Legislature to enact a fix to the Cunningham case ruling that stripped our local courts of vital revenues produced by fees in convictions. We have forged another impressive coalition of interests to advance this fix and have received a highly favorable initial response from key legislators.

“In addition, we will be doing a major educational push for legislators on the growing problem of tax increment financing, or ‘tax capture,’ districts redirecting property taxes from basic local services to special projects that are often quite speculative,” she added.

For more on MAC’s legislative strategy for the fall and 2015, be sure to review MAC’s weekly Legislative Updates and keep coming back to our website for all manner of county news, events and tips.