Legislative Update 2-10-23

Boost for revenue sharing highlights governor’s FY24 budget

A 17 percent boost in county revenue sharing is a “great indicator” that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recognizes the need to reinvest in local public services, MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie said Wednesday in response to Whitmer’s fiscal 2024 budget presentation in Lansing.

“The fact that this and so many of MAC’s 2023 priorities, such as investments in juvenile justice, public health and foster care, are reflected in the governor’s spending plan is a good start as the budget work begins in Lansing,” Currie added in an official statement.

Deena Bosworth, MAC director of governmental affairs, told the Gongwer News Service, “We’re hoping (the county revenue sharing increase) stays with 10 percent and the 7 percent. That represents a significant increase.”

Among MAC’s 2023 priorities in Lansing is the creation of a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund to include dollars earmarked by law from the state sales tax.

In other budget areas affecting county government:

Public health and public safety
  • A $30 million increase in base funding to local public health departments
  • An almost 60 percent increase in funding to support essential public health services to enhance recruitment efforts for behavioral health workers
  • Dedication of a 7 percent increase in revenue sharing to public safety, totaling $17 million, to aid with public safety employee recruitment, retention and training, and equipment and infrastructure improvements
  • $2 million to establish a Juvenile Justice Services Division within the State Court Administrator’s Office, implementing one of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform’s recommendations
  • $556,900 to create a juvenile justice unit within the State Appellate Defender’s Office, which would provide appellate counsel for indigent youth
  • $32 million for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services juvenile justice programming reimbursements; these reimbursements, through the Michigan Child Care Fund, are used for community programming for juvenile justice at the local level
  • $2 million to establish the Office of Child Advocate juvenile justice services
  • $220.9 million for Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) grants, a $72 million increase from FY23 to cover the minimum MIDC standards for indigent attorney compensation (120 local trial court funding units will receive this funding to implement the requirements for “effective and fair assistance of counsel for indigent criminal defendants”)
  • $19.3 million to increase the daily rate paid to foster families, adoptive families, and juvenile guardians.
Infrastructure

While Whitmer spoke at length about changing the vehicles on our roads (see bullets below), she had little to say about investments in roads. Nearly all the money in the proposed transportation budget is dedicated to ongoing programs, including debt service and a bridge bundling initiative.

Electric vehicle spending

  • $45 million for local governments to convert their fleets to electric vehicles (EVs)
  • $65 million for charging infrastructure both commercially and at-home
  • $48.8 million to temporarily suspend the sales tax on electric vehicles
  • $150 million for electric school buses

The governor called for $225.8 million to replace thousands of water service lines made of lead and $280.5 million for water treatment facility upgrades and stormwater management systems. Not all these dollars would come from the state General Fund, however, as a large portion would be drawn from funds via the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Also, she proposed $25 million to remove dams, so long as they do not contain invasive species or generate power for communities.

A more detailed line-item breakdown of the governor’s budget is planned for the Feb. 17 Legislative Update.

 

Podcast 83 gives initial review of governor’s FY24 budget

There is much to like for counties in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fiscal 2024 budget proposal, members of MAC’s Podcast 83 team said during an episode taped the day after the governor’s presentation on Feb. 8.

Guest host Deena Bosworth, MAC Governmental Affairs Director, led MAC staffers Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson through areas of particular note to counties, highlighted by:

  • A 17 percent increase on county revenue sharing
  • A $19 million boost to support foster families
  • More than $12 million to support ongoing work for a statewide judicial case management system

By contrast to these high points, the governor’s budget only raised more questions about another perennial county concern: proper funding for roads and bridges. The budget’s emphasis on electric vehicles, which do not contribute to the state’s key fuel funds, only exacerbate the concerns MAC and others expressed about road funding trends during a policy briefing in late January.

On the lighter side, watch the episode to find out who celebrated a birthday this week.

See the full video, recorded on Feb. 9.

Previous episodes can be seen at MAC’s YouTube Channel.

And you always can find details about Podcast 83 on the MAC website.

 

State releases opioid settlement spending principles

On Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released its spending “plan” for the state of Michigan’s opioid settlement dollars for 2023.

The document does not provide dollar amounts, but states it is: “A brief overview of key efforts and investments.”

MDHHS has been authorized to spend $39.2 million of the settlement dollars to carry out these efforts and plans to focus on activities that cannot be funded from other restricted sources. The areas for investments align with the state opioid strategy focusing on the pillars of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, data, equity, criminal-legal and pregnant and parenting populations. Additional areas targeted include administrative costs and technical assistance and resources for local governments.

The assistance for local governments will be provided through three universities and will involve partnership with MAC. Many of the investments outlined by the state are associated with work taking place at the local level, potentially increasing the amount of funds flowing into counties in Michigan.

For information on MAC’s opioid settlement assistance, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.

 

Budget includes plan for pay boost for nursing care workers

The state would commit $210.1 million to increasing pay for direct care workers in skilled nursing facilities under a provision of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s fiscal 2024 budget.

These recommendations would increase the average wage by $1.50 per hour for direct care workers.

An additional $90 million in state dollars would go to boost pay for non-direct care employees.

The Michigan Counties Medical Care Facilities Council, which represents the 34 county-owned medical care facilities in Michigan, supports pay increases for workers, its executive director, Renee Beniak, said Friday. To see the council’s legislative priorities for fiscal year 2024, click here.

For more information on this issue, please contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

 

Counties pass resolutions to honor MAC’s 125th Anniversary

MAC extends its thanks to member counties that have passed, or are planning to pass official resolutions in honor of MAC’s 125th Anniversary year, which began on Feb. 1.

As of mid-day Friday, MAC had copies of such resolutions from Branch, Lenawee, Mackinac, Newaygo, Ogemaw, Sanilac and Wexford. Three other counties have advised MAC they plan such action in the next two weeks.

To assist members with this effort, MAC created a resolution template with historical facts and accomplishments by the association, which was sent to county board chairs and administrators. Members can still download a copy at this link on MAC’s special anniversary webpage.

If your county has passed a resolution or plans to do so, please alert MAC via email to melot@micounties.org.

 

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