A commitment to the financial health of Michigan counties undergirds a robust legislative agenda released Jan. 12 by the Michigan Association of Counties for 2024.
Among the priorities for MAC in Lansing this year are revenue sharing, state reimbursement for lost revenue due to the disabled veteran property tax exemption, extending the sunset on our ability to collect fees that fund our trial courts, tackling the issue of Medicaid for jail inmates set to be released and ongoing challenges in financing infrastructure improvements and maintenance.
Revenue Sharing Trust Fund
MAC places a high priority on securing and enhancing the Revenue Sharing for counties. House Bills 4274-75 carve out a portion of the state sales tax and dedicates it to revenue sharing passed the House last November with overwhelming bipartisan support. Getting this policy through the Senate and to the governor’s desk tops the list of our priorities this year.
Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption reimbursement
Since 2014, MAC has been seeking reimbursement for the state policy exempting 100 percent disabled veterans from paying property taxes. When the policy was initially passed, the cost estimate for locals was in the ballpark of $18 million. Today, the cost is closer to $100 million for all recipients of property tax revenue. Working with the veterans organizations and policy-makers, we have come up with a mechanism to reimburse local units for their lost revenue. Unfortunately, the state is more than hesitant to take financial responsibility for the exemption. MAC will continue to work with the administration to stress the importance of the reimbursement to counties.
Increasing resources for juvenile justice services
MAC recognizes the need for additional beds for juveniles across the state and the challenges counties face with a lack of available and qualified workers to staff these facilities. The only way to address these critical shortages is to infuse additional funds into the system. MAC will seek state funds for staff recruitment, retention and training, plus direct funding for facilities.
Extending the sunset on trial court funding authorization
To maintain the effectiveness of the judicial system, MAC calls for an extension of the sunset on trial court funding authorization. The current authorization for the collection of fees that help to fund our trial courts expires in May. We will seek an extension of this authorization to May of 2026 and in the interim seek the enactment of the recommendations from the Trial Court Funding Commission.
Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy
While federal legislation to address necessary reforms to the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP) is under way, and several states have been approved for Medicaid Section 1115 waivers to allow for Medicaid coverage for incarcerated individuals, Michigan counties still face burdensome costs in anticipation of these reforms.
To alleviate the financial burden imposed by the MIEP, MAC is pursuing a policy to require health care providers to bill at the Medicaid-established rate for all incarcerated individuals who do not possess private health care and receive medical care outside of the county jail. In addition, MAC is working on an initiative to require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to apply for a Medicaid Section 1115 Re-entry Waiver, which several other states have been approved for, to reinstate Medicaid benefits for incarcerated individuals prior to release from county jails.
Addressing Michigan’s infrastructure needs, MAC prioritizes road funding in its legislative agenda. Proposals include sustainable and long-term solutions to maintain and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure. With declining gas tax revenue due to more efficient vehicles and the influx of electric vehicles and road quality declining, a new approach must be found. MAC envisions safer roads, reduced congestion and enhanced connectivity contributing to economic growth and overall community well-being.
For more information on MAC’s 2024 priorities, please contact Deena Bosworth at email@example.com.