2014 MAC Priorities

The following list of our top five priorities for 2014 represents many of the policy and funding issues MAC is pursuing, but in no way is an exhaustive list of the issues we advocate for on behalf of counties.     Full Funding for County Revenue Sharing:
  • Revenue sharing is a statutory obligation on behalf of the state, established in the 1960’s when counties gave up local taxing authority.
  • Counties made an agreement with the state to forego revenue sharing to help balance the state’s budget with the understanding that full funding would return to each county once their reserve accounts were exhausted.  This deal has only been honored once since 2005.
  • MAC will advocate for full county revenue sharing.
Prevent Future Unfunded Mandates:
  • In 2009, the Legislative Commission on Unfunded Mandates determined that more than $2.5 billion in services that can be measured, and billions more that cannot be measured, are provided by local units of government for free to the state of Michigan through unfunded mandates. 
  • There is little that can be done about past state violations of the Constitution, however legislation can and should be enacted that would require the state legislature to pay for any new mandates it imposes on counties before compliance would be required.  Bills are SB 495 – 498 and HB 5059 – 5060.
  • MAC is leading the charge to enact unfunded mandates legislation along with Senators Casperson, Robertson, Jansen and Meekhof.  Representatives Kowall and Walsh are heading up the package in the House.   
Reform Tax Capture Statutes:
  • Currently counties have limited say in the length and financial scope of tax capture districts. 
  • MAC is working with the House, Senate and the administration to ensure that counties have a voice in the economic development activities in their region by strengthening their voice in the tax capture and abatement process.
  • MAC’s goals are to allow for counties to negotiate how much revenue is captured, to prevent the capture of special millages and to have a seat on the board of these districts.
Closing the Big Box/Dark Store Tax Loophole
  • Many big box retailers have been appealing their property tax assessments to the Michigan Tax Tribunal by challenging the “true cash value” of their properties.
  • In the majority of the cases, the valuation methods being put forth equate the value of a vibrant, profitable operating business (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) with a closed, dark, and abandoned commercial property.
  • MAC is working very closely with members of the House and Senate to find a fair, equitable and consistent way to value these properties so that each business actually pays their share of property taxes. 
 Consistent and Reliable Transportation Funding
  • Michigan’s roads and crumbling infrastructure costs us more money each year, stifles economic growth and is in part to blame for many traffic accidents.
MAC supports increasing revenue to aid in repairing and improving the state’s ailing infrastructure. MAC’s preferred method of raising revenue is through a 1% increase in sales tax devoted strictly to infrastructure improvements and to be distributed by current PA 51 formula. Download Priorities here: MAC 2014 Priorites
Register now for the 2014 MAC Legislative Conference in Lansing at the Radisson Hotel and Lansing Center on March 24-26. Enjoy networking, educational breakout sessions, a chance to meet with your legislators and more!
Early bird registration ends on March 6th!
You can view the full agenda here: MAC Conf Attendee Booklet

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Association of Counties (M.A.C.) is pleased that Governor Snyder has recommended 100% full funding for county revenue sharing totaling over $211 million for the FY 2015 budget. M.A.C. would like to thank the governor and his administration for this recommendation and for their untiring efforts to restore counties to full funding.

This marks the first time in 14 years that counties are in a position to receive full revenue sharing payments, last receiving full funding in FY 2001. Although this is excellent news coming from the governor, it is just the first step in a long budget process. Both the House and Senate need to agree with the governor on his recommendations. “I would like to thank the governor on behalf of all Michigan counties for this recommendation,” said Vice President of the M.A.C. Board of Directors and Allegan County Commissioner Jon Campbell. “M.A.C., along with county officials, has worked tirelessly to educate the governor and his administration on the uniqueness of county revenue sharing and how those dollars provide vital services to Michigan residents.” The House and the Senate will start considering budgets as early as next week, and M.A.C. is hopeful that the legislature will adopt the governor’s recommendation, but is urging county commissioners to contact their legislators to support this proposal. M.A.C. again wishes to thank Governor Snyder for this recommendation to fully fund county revenue sharing in FY 2015, and looks forward to working with the legislature to adopt this recommendation. If you have questions, please contact M.A.C. Director of Legislative Affairs Deena Bosworth at 517-372-5374 or bosworth@micounties.org.
LANSING, Mich. –With nearly a 1 billion dollar surplus projected, counties see this as the perfect time for the state to make good on its promise to pay back local units of government for their sacrifices to the state’s budget over the last decade. The state has balanced the budget on the backs of local government by siphoning off more than $6 billion from revenue sharing to local units over the last decade. Counties in particular, have been a selfless partner, saving the state more than a billion dollars since 2005. This budgetary concession was made in an effort to help the state with its budget problems, with the understanding that the state would honor their funding obligations in the future. This promise has not been fully honored and the state continues to short counties by more than 20% each year. Ignoring the statutory commitment to fund counties at the level required has become a habitual practice for the state. Counties are already stretched to their financial limit, making it difficult for them to pay for the multitude of state mandated services. County services may not be flashy, but they are critical for safe and functional communities. These state mandated services include courts, jails, 911, foster care, sheriffs, elections and the public health system. “The tide has turned for state revenues and we are thrilled Michigan is turning around,” said the Michigan Association of Counties (M.A.C.) Board of Directors President Shelley Pinkelman. “Unfortunately, local governments are at a disadvantage. Our ability to recover from the recent recession is disproportionately slower than it is for state government and without the state honoring their financial obligations to local units, we will continue to struggle to provide the most basic of local services. It is critical that the legislature recognizes this and honors their statutory obligation to fund local government services.” The legislature could allocate a mere $40 million to make counties whole in FY 2014. The current model of mandating counties to deliver services on behalf of the state government without paying for those services is unsustainable. After nearly a decade of the state shirking their financial responsibility to local governments, the time to repay is now.