As legislators reconvene in Lansing for their fall session, the MLive Media Group has begun a week-long look at a key issue for counties across the state: tax capture districts. MAC has been educating lawmakers on the need to reform state law on how tax increment financing districts operate and now a new University of Michigan report illustrates that need again. Read the entire story here, but we think this segment goes to the heart of the matter on transparency and accountability: “‘Why do we think that TIFs are a good thing in terms of tax policy if we don’t know how their money is being used?’ Bieri said. “In addition to the state not exercising regulatory authority over these authorities, the boards that run TIFs are not elected and thus not directly responsible to the citizens of the communities they serve. “‘Joe public, the average citizen has very little ballot box control over that property tax revenue that is used for TIFs,’ Bieri said.” Keep checking your MAC website and watch for Legislative Updates from MAC HQ to stay abreast of all developments on this issue.
In a guest commentary Sept. 5 on MLive.com, MAC’s incoming president, Allegan County Commissioner Jon Campbell, issues an alert to Michigan residents about the court funding crisis created by the Cunningham ruling: “Legislators will have a full agenda in September; however, a permanent, stable, fair fix to court funding has to be at the top of the list.” The chart below shows the annual projected impact of the ruling, if it is not changed, for several counties across the state that responded to a MAC survey. court cost chart*Circuit court costs only    
Trunkline conditions chart 9-2-14Why is MAC pushing so hard to get the Legislature to provide a statewide vote on a 1-cent sales tax for transportation? Take a look at the chart above, particularly the dotted portion of the green line. Trunkline roads are transportation speak for main roads. These are the roadways that carry our commerce, our schoolchildren, our work force and our emergency vehicles. If your main roads are bad, expect life to be harder all the way around. And while the vast majority of Michigan’s trunkline roads are deemed in good shape today, the trend is ominous indeed, according to the state Transportation Department. By the end of this decade, fewer than half of such roads would be in good or fair shape, if additional resources are not found. County and local road officials can work as hard as they can and be as clever as possible to stretch a dollar to fix local roads, but that work will mean much less if the major roads aren’t maintained. The MAC Board of Directors, aware of these trends, voted at the beginning of the year to have MAC staffers make the case for a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax – a penny for the roads – to generate vital new dollars. See more about the importance and condition of Michigan roads at http://milocalroads.com/ .
CEDAM logoCEDAM, the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, has a number of learning opportunities slated in September. Follow the links below to get additional information or register. Small Community Grants Available The application for the latest round of small community grants is available on the Michigan Rural Council page on the CEDAM website. This program offers grants of up to $800 to organizations engaged in rural community development work. Grants are awarded bi-annually each year with deadlines in February and September. The Granting Committee selects up to five proposals to be awarded during each of the two cycles throughout the year. The deadline for the next round of grants is 5 p.m. on Sept. 19. Placemaking Modules Placemaking is a simple concept based on a single principle – people choose to live in places that offer the amenities, resources, social and professional networks, and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles. We are hosting two modules in Detroit on Sept. 24 at the offices of CDAD, our Detroit partner. You may register for one or both. It is not required that the modules are taken in consecutive order. Lunch will be served. Placemaking Module 1: People, Places and Placemaking, 9 a.m. to noon Placemaking Module 2: Economics of Place, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Register here. Real Estate Development Boot Camp Learn the basics of real estate development with a group of colleagues across the state. The full description and registration information can be found below. When: Oct. 15-17 Where: Tustin Register here.  

courtesy/Macomb County

“Applications are available now for Michigan State University’s Michigan Political Leadership Program, considered the nation’s premier training opportunity for rising leaders,” the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research announced this week.

“MPLP is distinguished as one of only a handful of multi-partisan leadership training programs in the nation.

“The fellowship program trains 24 people from all corners of the state and from diverse professional and occupational backgrounds for 10 months of weekend training.

“Applications for the MPLP Class of 2015 are due Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. They are sought from individuals seeking new leadership and political skills to serve communities, constituencies, or causes. Applicants must be 18 years of age. …

“Each MPLP fellowship is valued at $12,000. Fellows accepted into the program are asked to pay a $1,000 administrative fee to participate plus some incidental costs like parking and travel. “

For more information, visit the MPLP website.

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