Legislative Update 3-17-23

MAC makes case on revenue sharing to Senate funding panel

Properly investing in local government services is a key economic development strategy, MAC told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee this week.

Testifying before the Subcommittee on General Government, Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs, urged legislators to take up a MAC-backed plan to dedicate proper funding to revenue sharing to secure local services.

County revenue sharing, Bosworth explained, was established as an alternative to local taxation, with the intent that the state would share its revenue with local governments. However, revenue sharing has not kept up with the growth of the state budget or inflation “While economic development projects are crucial to our state, investing in these projects is only a piece of the pie — counties need to properly fund the services we provide, from public health to roads, we serve 100 percent of the population, but we only receive a fraction of the unrestricted revenue sharing dollars from the state,” she noted.

Also, there are no inflationary adjustments in the revenue sharing dollars counties receive, leaving FY23 revenue sharing for counties at $245 million. If the state paid counties at the same rates as from FY01, with adjustments for inflation, FY23 revenue sharing would amount to $392 million.

MAC supports parity in statutory revenue sharing for counties and would like the Legislature to bring counties up to the same recommended level as the revenue sharing for cities, villages and township, proposed at $293.5 million.

MAC also requested to eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming reporting requirements created by the County Incentive Program, which involves 20 percent of a county’s revenue sharing funds.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.


Federal proposal would ease regulations on foster homes

A new regulation to allow child welfare agencies to adopt less stringent licensing standards for all relative and kinship foster family homes was offered by federal officials last month. Counties with foster care jurisdiction are encouraged to submit comments on the proposed regulation before April 17.

Kinship care allows relatives or close friends to care for children who are removed from their homes as a result of abuse or neglect. The state of Michigan is facing a foster care bed shortage. Alleviating administrative hurdles for relatives to become licensed foster care providers, rather than placing youth in the foster care system, would allow children to stay with adults they know and leave foster care beds open to those who do not have kinship care options.

MAC supports federal efforts, including the proposed regulation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to increase and incentivize kinship placements for best possible outcomes for children under the care of the county.

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


Celebrate County Government Month in April

National County Government Month (NCGM), held each April, is an annual celebration of county government. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties to actively promote county roles and responsibilities in serving residents. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective or innovative county programs and raise public awareness of services provided to the community.

This year’s National County Government Month theme is consistent with NACo President Denise Winfrey’s focus for the year, Counties RISE!

RISE! stands for Resiliency, Inclusion, Solvency and Empowerment – and the exclamation point speaks to the enthusiasm and passion with which we tell those stories. Counties are encouraged to reflect on this theme as you choose how to celebrate NCGM.

NACo’s NCGM page has a wealth of resources for counties to use to engage with residents on the central role county government plays in everyday life:

If you have questions about National County Government Month, please contact Nicole Weissman at nweissman@naco.org.


State regulator pledges higher outage fee in wake of ice storm

Michigan’s utility regulatory will start requiring a $35 per day credit in power outages, indexed for inflation, a House committee was told Wednesday.

The House Energy, Communications and Technology Committee is reviewing the actions of Michigan’s two major electric utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, in the wake of last month’s devastating ice storm that left hundreds of thousands without power.

Representatives of the state Public Service Commission (PSC), which oversees utilities, said it would be altering its rules to require the $35 per day credit, up from the flat $35 (DTE) or $25 (Consumers) credit to utility customers who went without power for more than 96 hours.

DTE and Consumers execs faced extensive questioning about their role in the outages.

While DTE acknowledged the existing fee was not enough to replenish the food lost by households during these outages, but explained the, set by PSC, is meant as a penalty to utilities, rather than compensation to customers.

Both DTE and Consumers insisted the most pressing need for both companies is properly investing in a reliable grid. They claim that is the key to fewer outages and they asked for support from the legislature and all stakeholders to help make the necessary improvements.

Several customers delivered impassioned testimony about the impact these outages had on their families. Committee members voiced their sympathies and urged the utilities to take these personal stories into consideration moving forward.

MAC will continue to monitor any legislative responses to the energy emergency and provide updates if necessary.



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