Counties praise revenue sharing boost in governor’s FY20 budget; call roads plan a ‘bold start’ to debate

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget carries many positive notes for county government in Michigan, said the executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties.

“Obviously, it’s great to see the 3 percent increase in county revenue sharing funds, as revenue sharing is the key promise from the state to counties to help with delivery of vital local services,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director.

Whitmer’s budget, released today during a presentation in downtown Lansing, would move county revenue sharing totals to just over $228 million, up from the $221.4 million in the fiscal 2019 budget.

Another positive note was the governor’s call for a significant investment in dealing with the PFAS contamination in Michigan waters.

On infrastructure, Currie said counties see the governor’s proposal to raise the gasoline tax by 45 cents a “bold proposal that gets the conversation started.”

The governor calls for raising $2.5 billion for roads by increasing the gas tax 45 cents by Oct. 1, 2020. Money generated would go to a new “Fixing Michigan Roads Fund” for the most “highly traveled and commercially important roads” at the state and local levels, reports the Governor’s Office.

M.A.C. Applauds Senate Approval for $100M for Roads

Today, the Michigan Senate allocated $100 million of surplus dollars toward winter road repairs. The additional funds will be distributed as $39.1 million to MDOT, $39.1 million to county road agencies and $21.8 million to municipalities. The Michigan Association of Counties (M.A.C.) would like to thank the Senate for allocating the extra funds for special winter road maintenance.

The additional funding, which comes from the Roads and Risks Reserve Fund created for the current budget year, will help local governments and MDOT with the rapid deterioration of roads as a result of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in Michigan history.

“We recognize that the damage to Michigan roads is going to be the worst in many years and while we still support a permanent increase in funding, we appreciate the Senate taking steps in the right direction,” said M.A.C. Deputy Director, Steve Currie. “This funding will go a long way in helping locals with the growing pothole problem, and we anticipate members of the House and the governor will realize the need as well.”

The bill now heads to the House for approval.