Tax votes could mean billion-dollar reduction to state’s General Fund

Major changes to Michigan’s income tax collections, with the potential to reduce the state General Fund by approximately $1 billion for the next budget year, crossed between legislative chambers this week.

The House and the Senate moved their own versions of bills that would roll back the tax on public pension income and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low- to moderate-income families.   

On the EITC, the Senate plan (Senate Bill 3 by Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet, D-Bay) would increase the allowable state income tax credit from 6 percent to 30 percent of the allowable federal EITC. The House version (House Bill 4002 by Rep. Nate Shannon, D-Macomb), would increase the allowable state credit to 20 percent.

The Senate version would remove about $440 million from the state’s General Fund in FY23, as it is written to be retroactive to the 2022 tax year. Estimates on the House version have not been released.

MAC anticipates more negotiations between the House and the Senate before a final version will be prepped for the governor.

On pensions, both HB 4001, by Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Eaton) and SB 1, by Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-Macomb) target taxation on pension income imposed by the state in 2011.

The reduction in General Fund revenue would be around $500 million once changes in either bill are in full effect. At present, SB 1 would go into full effect for the current state budget year, while HB 4001 would scale up the reduction between FY23 and FY27.

Another looming change to income taxes and the state General Fund does not require any current legislative action.

Under a 2015 law, Michigan’s current 4.25 percent income tax rate would be reduced if the General Fund has been shown to have grown faster than the rate of inflation. State fiscal experts say that has occurred and would mean an estimated cut to the rate to 4.05 percent. Such a reduction, in turn, could mean an $800 million cut to the General Fund, said Witwer, the House Appropriations Committee chair, in a recent media report.

While MAC has taken no position on any of these tax measures, the General Fund, estimated to be $15.1 billion for FY24 prior to any income tax changes, is the state account used to finance County Revenue Sharing and a plethora of other responsibilities carried out by counties each year. MAC will monitor the progress of General Fund resources as the state budget process accelerates in coming weeks.

For more information on these proposals, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC to launch 125th anniversary year with Capitol event, special logo

State and county leaders will deliver remarks on Feb. 1 to mark the day 125 years ago that the Michigan Association of Counties came into being at the Michigan State Capitol.

On Feb. 1, 1898, representatives from 16 counties (see below) gathered in the Senate chamber of the State Capitol to form what was then called the State Association of Supervisors of Michigan. The association, whose offices were once located in a Quonset hut on the campus of Michigan State University, was formally renamed the Michigan Association of Counties in 1969 as the state shifted to county boards staffed by commissioners directly elected from geographic districts.

Also scheduled to speak at the event are:

  • State Sen. Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County
  • State Rep. Julie Rogers of Kalamazoo County
  • State Rep. Ken Borton of Otsego County
  • State Rep. Matthew Bierlein of Tuscola County

Klinefelt, Borton and Bierlein are all former MAC Board presidents, while Rogers is a former MAC Board director.

MAC also will officially unveil its anniversary year logo (see at right).

The Capitol event is the first of several promotions planned for the anniversary year, culminating in an Anniversary Gala for members at the association’s 2023 Annual Conference in Kalamazoo County Oct. 1-3.

MAC is the oldest Michigan association representing local governments and the only one dedicated to the representation of all county commissioners in Michigan. Original 16 counties: Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Monroe, Montcalm, Oakland, Ottawa, Saginaw and St. Joseph.

 

$1.1 billion supplemental spending bill headed to governor

The Democratic majority in the Legislature acted swiftly this week to move its first major spending plan to the governor’s desk: a $1.1 billion supplemental appropriations bill affecting fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

The measure allocates $146.3 million to close the books on FY22, detailing money to several state Departments and adds $946.2 million in additional spending for FY23. The bulk of the FY23 dollars goes to economic development:

  • $200 million for a paper mill in Delta County, as part of a plan to save 1,200 jobs in the Upper Peninsula
  • $150 million for housing tax credits
  • $100 million for community revitalization and placemaking grants
  • $75 million for small businesses harmed by the pandemic
  • $75 million for blight elimination
  • $50 million for the Missing Middle Gap Program to increase housing supplies for those who earn up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level
  • $33 million for infrastructure projects in Kent and Sanilac counties
  • $25 million for apprenticeship expansions
  • $15 million to remove barriers to entering or re-entering the workforce

The bill also includes $25 million for streets in cities and villages with fewer than 10,000 people, $20 million for police training and $25 million for the Water Shutoff Prevention Fund.

For more information on state appropriations, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC applauds governor’s words on infrastructure, economic development

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s call to supercharge Michigan’s economy by building on its manufacturing legacy will get ready support from Michigan counties, MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie said in a statement to the media Wednesday night.

Responding to Whitmer’s 2023 State of the State address Wednesday evening, Currie said:

“As our member counties embark on our 125 years as an organized partner with the state of Michigan, they look forward to growing jobs, education and economic development in our communities.

“The governor laid out a plan to address the vital needs in our communities. Thriving economies, education, public safety and solid foundations. We support this holistic approach,” Currie added.

Whitmer, in her fifth State of the State address, but first delivered to a Legislature in Democratic control, devoted major portions of her speech to:

  • Pension tax repeal
  • A large increase in the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), or “Working Families Tax Credit,” as she called it
  • Investments in pre-K services for 4-year-olds

MAC also applauded the governor’s call to invest state resources in mental health services for public safety personnel.  “Prosecutors, sheriffs, and other county employees who protect our communities deserve the support they need as they support us,” Currie said.

For more information on MAC’s 2023 legislative priorities, click here.

 

Podcast 83 team sees good news in governor’s State of State address

The morning after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State (SOS) address, MAC’s Podcast 83 team saw plenty of hopeful signs for counties in the governor’s wide-ranging comments.

Host Stephan Currie and Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson of MAC discussed how the governor’s priorities could be beneficial to county efforts to:

  • Continue and increase investments in public infrastructure, such as roads, water systems and broadband, to attract workers to revitalize communities
  • Bolster public safety services by empowering first responders with tools to deal with the stress of their duties

Viewers also can discover who in the SOS audience Wednesday night that Bosworth finds “cute.”

See the full video, recorded on Jan. 26.

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

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

 

MAC issues letter of support for Northern Michigan juvenile facility

In a letter to Michigan legislators on Tuesday, MAC voiced support for regional efforts to build a 32-bed juvenile justice facility in Northern Michigan.

Investment in juvenile justice is one of MAC’s top six priority areas for 2023.

Michigan’s juvenile justice system is in crisis because of a critical shortage of detention and treatment beds for justice-involved youth. In Northern Michigan, there are no facilities to care for these youth, and there is often no place for them to stay or receive necessary mental and behavioral health treatment pending court hearings.

With a statewide bed shortage, and no facility in Northern Michigan, courts are often forced to place justice-involved youth in counties several hours away or, in some cases, even in other states. These distances harm a family’s ability to participate in services with their child.

The lack of treatment facilities not only affects our youth, their families and our court system. It creates a tremendous burden on law enforcement and imposes a great cost to counties to place youth outside of their home county, MAC noted in the letter.

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

 

Federal reports designed to aid jails in treating inmates with opioid issues

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released reports to offer recommendations on improving the provision of medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders (OUD) in correctional facilities. The reports also outline disability protections for those on MAT for OUD.

For the first time ever, ONDCP has provided federal guidance to assist correctional facilities in assessing their MAT programs, with the intent of expanding access nationwide. The report offers guidance for “prisons and jails to assess their programs, monitor individuals’ access to treatment once they are released, and to evaluate whether their programs are effective in preventing overdose deaths,” stated the National Association of Counties (NACo) in touting the resources.

The DOJ report clarifies that people on MAT for opioid use disorder are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The report also “provides information on enforcing the ADA to protect individuals in recovery from OUD who are not engaging in illegal drug use from discrimination” (NACo, New Federal Guidance Improves Access to Opioid Treatment in County Jails). These anti-discrimination enforcements also protect individuals who are taking legally prescribed medications to treat their OUD.

In addition to the ONDCP and DOJ reports, Congress has passed critical county behavioral health legislation in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations package. A major piece of that, reports NACo, is the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act of 2021, “which allows Buprenorphine, a critical and inexpensive form of MAT, to be more easily prescribed by doctors, particularly in jail settings.”

Elements of the Medicaid Reentry Act also gained congressional approval to “remove limitations on Federal Financial Participation for juveniles who are inmates pending disposition at the discretion of the state,” said NACo.

MAC supports the federal government’s efforts on behavioral health prevention and treatment in the last year.

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

 

‘Essential’ for Michigan to address funding impact of EVs, MAC says

MAC’s Deena Bosworth speaks at a Tuesday press conference regarding a new report on the funding challenges presented by electric vehicles.

It is “essential” that Michigan quickly identify a new revenue source for public roads in response to the fiscal effects of the growing ranks of electric vehicles (EVs), MAC’s director of governmental affairs told a Lansing press conference on Tuesday.

In her remarks at the event to unveil a study on EVs and road funding, Deena Bosworth also noted, “As the report demonstrates, in 2021 1.9 percent of vehicles on roads in Michigan were electric. While this number may seem small, it is not insignificant. That number will undoubtedly grow, and we will continue to lose gas tax revenue at an alarming rate. We must consider other revenue sources, or we will be left in a hopeless and helpless position.”

The event was hosted by the County Road Association of Michigan (CRA) to unveil the study, which was conducted by the Anderson Economic Group.

As outlined in Public Act 51, roads in Michigan are primarily funded by the tax on motor fuel and vehicle registration fees. EV drivers are clearly not contributing to the gas tax and are paying a reduced registration fee. As more drivers transition to EVs each year, Michigan will see a dramatic decrease in revenue, and we will no longer be able to maintain and repair our roads.

The report came from an EV workgroup coordinated by CRA that includes MAC, other local government groups, business leaders and transportation experts.

Between 2019 and 2021, the report says, EVs on the road cost the state $50 million. By 2030, $65 million to $90 million will be lost annually. The report proposes several potential policy solutions, including an annual flat registration surcharge, mileage-based user fees, per kilowatt-hour fees and tolling. It will ultimately be up to the Legislature and governor to determine which path forward will best serve the people of Michigan. The workgroup plans to work closely with them during the decision-making process.

MAC is dedicated to finding realistic solutions that both promote EV adoption and sustain road systems.

You can find the full report here: The Impact of Electric vehicle Adoption on Road Funding in Michigan.

For more information on MAC’s infrastructure work, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org

 

MAC committee assignments finalized; look for email confirmations

After consultation with MAC staff, Board President Stan Ponstein has finalized policy committee assignments for 2023. Confirmation letters will be going out by email today (Jan. 20).

MAC received a record number of applicants this year – and all applicants were assigned at least one committee. However, if you applied to multiple committees, you may not have been selected to serve on all of them.

Also included in the email is a document outlining committee rules and procedures. It is important that members make note of the attendance requirements and committee schedule. If for any reason you no longer wish to, or are unable to, serve on any of the committees you have been assigned to, please alert your MAC committee liaison.

The meetings of MAC’s six policy committees are essential in developing MAC’s policy platforms each year. We are grateful to each new and returning member that applied. Regular meetings will begin in February, so mark your calendars!

For more information on MAC’s policy-making process, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC touts revenue sharing fund to Capitol news service

Deena Bosworth leads a briefing with the MIRS News Service at MAC’s offices on Jan. 19.

MAC staff met with the Capitol reporting team from the MIRS News Service on Thursday to detail MAC’s 2023 legislative priorities in Lansing, including the creation of a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund to establish fairness in promised state funding to counties.

This reform was embodied in legislation filed in 2022 that MAC expects to renew with the new Legislature.

“This legislation’s method of carving out a percentage of the sales tax for the fund is what revenue sharing was originally designed to do: share in the state’s revenue,” MAC Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth told the reporters. “If sales tax revenue goes up, local allocations go up. If sales tax revenue falls, so do allocations, just like it does for constitutional revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships.”

MAC staffers detailed the long history of inequities in county revenue sharing in Michigan, with Bosworth noting that while both “CVTs” (cities, villages and townships) and counties both serve 100 percent of Michigan’s population, only CVTs receive constitutional and statutory revenue sharing. Counties, by contrast, have been left to receive only statutory revenue sharing, which must be allocated each year, and which can — and has — been caught up in state budget politics.

Other points made during the briefing included:

  • MAC is hopeful that a fix to the state’s Open Meetings Act to restore the ability of a commissioner to participate remotely in a meeting, if a physical quorum is on hand, will get action in 2023
  • Bosworth is “excited” at the prospect of working with the new Legislature, now under Democratic control, since members of MAC’s County Caucus (legislators who are former county commissioners) hold several key committee chair positions.

MAC routinely meets with news services covering the State Capitol at the start of a new year to detail county priorities and the realities of delivering local public services.

For more information on MAC’s policy priorities, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Revenue Conference: Dollars keep flowing to state

The state’s economic experts are predicting a mild recession will occur in Michigan in 2023, but this dip will not end the recent trend of generally growing state revenues, according to the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference held Friday in Lansing.

Since the depths of the Michigan’s recession in the aughts, the state government’s revenues have soared, with a General Fund expected to stay near or above $15 billion through at least fiscal 2025. As recently as 2016, the state General Fund budget was barely exceeding $8 billion.

Unfortunately, those improvements have not translated into similar investments in county revenue sharing or transformational investments in trial court funding, juvenile justice, mental health or other services where counties carry heavy burdens.

For example, in fiscal 2001, the last year before recessionary trends took hold in Michigan, the state had a General Fund of about $10 billion and assigned $228.7 million to county revenue sharing. Adjusting for inflation, that revenue sharing amount today would be $379.2 million. The actual county revenue sharing number for fiscal 2023 is $245.8 million.

Already, during the first week of the 102nd Legislature, legislators have introduced bills that would reduce state revenues available to invest in counties through a huge increase of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and the repeal of the state tax on pension income.

“While much has changed in Lansing since last January, what has not is that counties will have to fight hard to convince legislators to make proper – and long overdue – investments in county services as the competition for dollars will be fierce,” said Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs. “We can’t stress enough the importance of engagement between the 619 elected commissioners and their state counterparts as the budget process unfolds.”

For more information on MAC’s budget advocacy work, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Court clears way for distribution on opioid settlement funds

A barrier to the delivery of opioid settlement funds to Michigan local governments was removed Friday by the Wayne County Circuit Court, which dismissed a challenge to the process by Ottawa County.

The court granted a motion from the state of Michigan and local governments for summary disposition in the dispute related to the so-called “distributors settlement.”

The national settlement administrator’s payment schedule is twice monthly, so the earliest date for which local governments may receive funding now would be Jan. 31. MAC will provide additional updates and information as they become available.

MAC’s Amy Dolinky is available to consult with counties as they plan out their opioid responses. She can be reached at dolinky@micounties.org.

For the latest news and resource updates on opioid settlements, visit MAC’s resource page.

 

MAC County Caucus is well-represented in committee leadership in new Legislature

Legislative committee assignments released in Lansing this week show former county commissioners – members of MAC’s County Caucus – in a number of key leadership positions.

Sen. Sarah Anthony, a former Ingham commissioner, will lead the Senate Appropriations Committee, which also will include Sens. Sue Shink (former Washtenaw commissioner), Jeff Irwin (former Washtenaw commissioner) and Veronica Klinefelt (former Macomb commissioner).

Klinefelt, who served two terms as MAC Board president, will sit on 10 different Senate committees and subcommittees, including as chair of the Local Government Committee, the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and the Veterans and Emergency Services Committee. Other Senate committees with solid representation of former county commissioners include:

  • Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety
  • Elections and Ethics
  • Energy and Environment
  • Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection
  • Health Policy
  • Housing and Human Services
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture (chaired by Shink)
  • Transportation and Infrastructure

On the House side, former MAC Board Member Julie Rogers of Kalamazoo will chair the Health Policy Committee, Rep. Kara Hope (Ingham) will chair the Committee on Criminal Justice, Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (Ingham) will chair the Elections Committee and Rep. Jim Haadsma (Calhoun) will chair the Committee on Labor and co-chair the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Rep. Felicia Brabec (Washtenaw) will chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, Rep. Jason Morgan (Washtenaw) will chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs and State Police and Rep. Phil Skaggs (Kent) will chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Insurance and Financial Services.

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

 

State starts listening tour on internet service

The Michigan High-Speed Internet (MIHI) Office has launched a statewide listening tour titled “MI Connected Future.” Representatives from the MIHI Office will be traveling across Michigan in January and February to gather input on broadband priorities and has invited all community members to attend and provide feedback at these sessions.

Michigan is expected to receive $1.6 billion in federal funding next year to expand high-speed internet services to all residents. The information collected during this tour will help the MIHI office better understand community needs and help determine how best to distribute these funds.

The tour’s first stop was earlier this week in Detroit. Next up is Warren on Jan. 17, followed by Pontiac on Jan. 19. Later this month, they will visit Jackson, Dundee, Ann Arbor and Benton Harbor, with stops in Three Rivers and Coldwater scheduled for February.

To find more information and register for these events, please visit MI Connected Future Tour Schedule.

 

Federal Transportation Department releases funding options list

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released a list of funding opportunities for 2023.

The grants are part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act and include a program totaling $1.25 billion for electric vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure, and $2.487 billion for bridge improvements.

The list also includes funding for rail grade separation projects, ferry services for rural communities and developing and implementing comprehensive safety action plans. This list is not final and will be updated throughout the course of the year.

 

MAC will soon announce policy committee assignments

Commissioners and others selected to serve on MAC’s policy committees in 2023 will receive emails notifying them of their assignments by Jan. 20 now that the application period has closed.

These committee choices are made by MAC’s Board President, currently Stan Ponstein of Kent County, in consultation with MAC staff. MAC has received more applications this cycle than in any year in recent memory.

MAC’s policy committees serve a key role in our annual policy platforms each year and will resume work in February:

 

Committee

Schedule

MAC Staffer

Finance & General Government

First Friday of month at 10 a.m.

Deena Bosworth

Environmental & Regulatory Affairs

Second Friday of month at 10 a.m.

Deena Bosworth & Madeline Fata

Health & Human Services

Fourth Monday of month at 10 a.m.

Samantha Gibson

Judiciary & Public Safety

Fourth Monday of month at 2 p.m.

Samantha Gibson

Transportation & Infrastructure

Fourth Friday of month at 10 a.m.

Madeline Fata

Agriculture & Tourism

First Monday of month at 10 a.m.

Deena Bosworth

A maximum of 25 commissioners will be placed on each committee. Those that were not selected for a particular committee will be granted their second or third choice. Those who applied for a committee and who were not selected will also be informed by email.

For general questions about committee applications or service, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

MAC offices to close on MLK Day

MAC’s Lansing offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Our offices will resume normal hours on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 8 a.m.

For information on events on MLK Day, follow the links below:

 

Staff picks

MAC establishes state legislative priorities for 2023     

Each year, MAC establishes legislative priorities for the upcoming year. These items are based on input and feedback from our membership and center around the more pressing issues our counties are facing. Some items are hold overs from the previous legislative session, and some are new items brought to our attention.

2023 Legislative Priorities

The list covers only a portion of the issues we will work on this year, but these six issues areas are where we will take the lead:

Revamping the Open Meetings Act to allow for pre-pandemic virtual participation in meetings.

Prior to the changes made to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) in 2020 during the pandemic, members of a public body could attend, participate and vote remotely at county board sessions, so long as a quorum of the public body was physically present at the meeting location. The statutory change to allow for full board meetings to be held remotely due to the pandemic expired Dec. 31, 2021, and impacted the pre-pandemic rules by now barring remote participants from voting, even if a quorum is physically present in the meeting room. For questions on this topic, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

Establishing a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund.

Revenue Sharing is the most flexible form of state aid to counties, which makes it the most effective method to fund generational investments in public services — with decisions made at the local level. The legislation will seek to create a statutory earmark of the state sales tax. The money deposited into the fund would stay in the fund for distribution to counties, cities, villages and townships and not lapse to the state General Fund at the end of each fiscal year. The money in the fund would be split, with 50 percent going to county revenue sharing and 50 percent going to revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships; this distribution could potentially increase county revenue sharing in the first year by more than 40 percent. The legislation’s method of carving out a percentage of the sales tax for the fund is what revenue sharing was originally designed to do — share in the state’s revenue. If sales tax revenue goes up, local allocations go up, if sales tax revenue falls, so do allocations, just like it does for constitutional revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Implementing the Trial Court Funding Commission’s recommendations for a more equitable and stable funding mechanism for our trial courts.

Local court funding remains caught in a looming statutory sunset, which now is set for May 2024, and is the subject of ongoing litigation before the Michigan Supreme Court. To ensure our local courts do not face a financial emergency, MAC supports the creation of the Trial Court Fund to distribute funding to trial courts based on operational requirements while maintaining local discretion over trial court operational decisions and the establishment of uniform assessments and centralized collections for all trial courts through the State Court Administrator’s Office. The system will maintain judicial discretion for ordering fines, will reduce costs and increase efficiency. For questions on this topic, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

Increasing resources for juvenile justice services.

A lack of staff, training and facilities has left a critical shortage of resources to house those in the juvenile justice system. MAC will be seeking an increase in funding for staff recruiting, retention and training, direct funding for additional facilities and an increase in the per diem rate for foster care parents. For questions on this topic, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

Compensating local governments for funds diverted by the Veterans Property Tax Exemption.

Since the enactment of the Disabled Veterans Property Tax exemption in 2013, counties have sought reimbursement from the state for the lost local revenues, a hit of tens of millions of dollars each year. MAC supports continuing the exemption — but with the state making up those local losses through a refundable income tax credit payable to local governments. This method of reimbursement was approved in previous legislative sessions by both the Senate and supported by veterans organizations but was never fully enacted. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Revamping the Personal Property Tax (PPT) Exemption to provide annual reimbursement to local governments.

As part of the economic development deal struck at the end of 2021, the Legislature and governor enacted an increase for the PPT exemption for small business, thereby reducing revenue to local governments by approximately $75 million each year. This exemption begins this year without a defined method for reimbursement for local governments that receive PPT funds. MAC worked with the 101st Legislature on a reimbursement methodology, but the bills were not brought up for a vote in the House during the last days of session. MAC will seek the same legislative reimbursement mechanism in new legislation in 2023. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Please watch for MAC advocacy campaigns throughout the year on these items and others so we can succeed helping counties better serve their residents in 2023 and beyond. For more information about MAC’s advocacy strategies, contact Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Three Michigan counties picked for national opioid abatement effort

Three counties in Michigan have been chosen to participate in the NACo Opioid Solutions Leadership Network, a cohort of 30 county leaders from around the country focused on opioid abatement strategies for settlement funding. The three counties participating are Genesee (Marlene Collick, director of community corrections, Jackson (Debra Kubitskey, assistant administrator) and Gladwin (Karen Moore, commissioner).

The network will work over one year to participate in peer-to-peer learning and receive support from both NACo and Vital Strategies, a global public health organization working with U.S. county governments in response to the opioid crisis. This network will increase coordination and allow for scaling of strategies utilized in other areas of the country across the continuum of care (prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery).

For more information on this issue, visit the Opioid Solutions Leadership Network (naco.org).

 

Keep track of opioid settlements on MAC website

Tracking of opioid settlement funds coming to Michigan are now available on the “Settlement Tracking” link at the MAC Opioid Settlement Resource Center. The Settlement Tracking link will lead to a spreadsheet document that will be updated as new information about settlements becomes available.

The document includes information about the company with which the settlement is occurring, the year of the settlement, national total, global abatement amount, Michigan total, state share, subdivision share, maximum number of payments, notes and reporting requirements.

The global abatement amount refers to the amount of funds used for opioid abatement and remediation purposes distributed to state and local governments. The state share refers to the funding awarded to the state and the subdivision share refers to the funds allocated to participating subdivisions, including counties, cities and townships.

For more information on this issue, contact Amy Dolinky at dolinky@micounties.org.

 

Special podcast episode delves into MAC’s services on opioid settlements

In the inaugural 2023 episode of Podcast 83, MAC’s video discussion of all things related to Michigan’s counties, host Stephan Currie discussed MAC’s expanding services on opioid settlement details with staffers Samantha Gibson and Amy Dolinky. Among the details discussed were:

  • From the two largest settlements (J&J and Distributors) there is around $776 million coming into the state, with a 50/50 split between state and local governments. Additional funds are expected to be received through Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt PLC. Settlements also are expected in the future with pharmacies. Michigan has signed on to the Walmart, Teva and Allergan settlements.
  • Tracking of settlements can be viewed at MAC’s Opioid Settlement Resource Center website (updated regularly).
  • Reporting for J&J and Distributors settlements will only occur through the payment portal, but this is expected to change for other settlements. It can be expected that surveys from external organizations will take place to gauge the full impact of the dollars and that community members will expect transparency.

See the full video, recorded on Jan. 4.

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

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

 

Last chance to apply for a MAC committee in 2023

The work of MAC’s seven policy-making committees, which serve a key role in our annual policy platforms each year, will resume in earnest in February 2023.

If you wish to participate in this work, you still have time to apply.

Please send in your application form by Jan. 12, 2023, for consideration.

For any questions about committee applications or service, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Connell joins MAC as director of member events

As part of its ongoing efforts to expand and improve its educational offerings to Michigan’s 619 county commissioners, the Michigan Association of Counties recently created and filled a staff position dedicated to planning and executing member events.

Tammi Connell, CMP, became MAC’s new director of member events on Jan. 2, 2023, MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie announced.

“As we enter our 125th anniversary year, I think this investment in member service could not be more appropriate,” Currie said. “Tammi’s extensive experience, with event planning generally and with many of our members specifically, means she will have an immediate impact on the quality of our events in 2023 and beyond.”

Connell, CMP, joined MAC in 2023 as the Director of Member Events. Connell’s previous experience includes conference services manager with the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing and sales manager with the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau. She also founded Keystone Management Concepts – an association management company that has served nonprofit associations, including MAC from 2014 to 2020. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cornerstone University.

“It’s exciting to join — or, in a way, rejoin — the team at MAC,” Connell said. “I’m committed to putting together exceptional educational events and doing great things for our members.”

Connell can be reached at connell@micounties.org.

 

Each year, MAC establishes legislative priorities for the upcoming year. These items are based on input and feedback from our membership and center around the more pressing issues our counties are facing. Some items are holdovers from the previous legislative session, and some are new items brought to our attention.

MAC’s 2023 Legislative Priorities

The list covers only a portion of the issues we will work on this year, but these six issue areas are where we will take the lead:

Revamping the Open Meetings Act to allow for pre-pandemic virtual participation in meetings.

Prior to the changes made to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) in 2020 during the pandemic, members of a public body could attend, participate and vote remotely at county board sessions, so long as a quorum of the public body was physically present at the meeting location. The statutory change to allow for full board meetings to be held remotely due to the pandemic expired Dec. 31, 2021, and impacted the pre-pandemic rules by now barring remote participants from voting, even if a quorum is physically present in the meeting room. For questions on this topic, contact Madeline Fata at fata@micounties.org.

Establishing a Revenue Sharing Trust Fund.

Revenue Sharing is the most flexible form of state aid to counties, which makes it the most effective method to fund generational investments in public services — with decisions made at the local level. The legislation will seek to create a statutory earmark of the state sales tax. The money deposited into the fund would stay in the fund for distribution to counties, cities, villages and townships and not lapse to the state General Fund at the end of each fiscal year. The money in the fund would be split, with 50 percent going to county revenue sharing and 50 percent going to revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships; this distribution could potentially increase county revenue sharing in the first year by more than 40 percent. The legislation’s method of carving out a percentage of the sales tax for the fund is what revenue sharing was originally designed to do — share in the state’s revenue. If sales tax revenue goes up, local allocations go up, if sales tax revenue falls, so do allocations, just like it does for constitutional revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Implementing the Trial Court Funding Commission’s recommendations for a more equitable and stable funding mechanism for our trial courts.

Local court funding remains caught in a looming statutory sunset, which now is set for May 2024, and is the subject of ongoing litigation before the Michigan Supreme Court. To ensure our local courts do not face a financial emergency, MAC supports the creation of the Trial Court Fund to distribute funding to trial courts based on operational requirements while maintaining local discretion over trial court operational decisions and the establishment of uniform assessments and centralized collections for all trial courts through the State Court Administrator’s Office. The system will maintain judicial discretion for ordering fines, will reduce costs and increase efficiency. For questions on this topic, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

Increasing resources for juvenile justice services.

A lack of staff, training and facilities has left a critical shortage of resources to house those in the juvenile justice system. MAC will be seeking an increase in funding for staff recruiting, retention and training, direct funding for additional facilities and an increase in the per diem rate for foster care parents. For questions on this topic, contact Samantha Gibson at gibson@micounties.org.

Compensating local governments for funds diverted by the Veterans Property Tax Exemption.

Since the enactment of the Disabled Veterans Property Tax exemption in 2013, counties have sought reimbursement from the state for the lost local revenues, a hit of tens of millions of dollars each year. MAC supports continuing the exemption — but with the state making up those local losses through a refundable income tax credit payable to local governments. This method of reimbursement was approved in previous legislative sessions by both the Senate and supported by veterans organizations but was never fully enacted. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Revamping the Personal Property Tax (PPT) Exemption to provide annual reimbursement to local governments.

As part of the economic development deal struck at the end of 2021, the Legislature and governor enacted an increase for the PPT exemption for small business, thereby reducing revenue to local governments by approximately $75 million each year. This exemption begins this year without a defined method for reimbursement for local governments that receive PPT funds. MAC worked with the 101st Legislature on a reimbursement methodology, but the bills were not brought up for a vote in the House during the last days of session. MAC will seek the same legislative reimbursement mechanism in new legislation in 2023. For questions on this topic, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Please watch for MAC advocacy campaigns throughout the year on these items and others so we can succeed helping counties better serve their residents in 2023 and beyond.

For more information about MAC’s advocacy strategies, contact Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

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