Actions by Senate appropriators this week would worsen the state’s disinvestment in county government and further stress the ability of counties to effectively serve Michigan residents, said the executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties.
“By rejecting the governor’s proposed increase in statutory revenue sharing for counties, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government is making a bad problem worse,” said Stephan Currie. “Legislators continue to ignore their responsibility to properly fund county governments – the governments that serve all 10 million Michigan residents.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget has a 3 percent increase for county revenue sharing to just over $228 million, up from the $221.4 million for the current fiscal year. The governor’s budget recommendations were based on increase revenue for roads, but the Senate appropriators have chosen to not increase revenue along with the budget.
This would worsen a long-standing gap between funding for counties and for CVTs (cities, villages and townships) under Michigan’s two-pronged support for municipal government. Unlike the CVTs, counties do not receive constitutional revenue sharing. In fiscal 2019, CVTs received $859 million in constitutional aid and then another $255 million in statutory payments, for more than $1 billion. Counties received $221 million in statutory support only.
“We serve the same population as CVTs and have more mandated services,” said Currie. “And still they are getting a $33 million increase (in constitutional dollars).
“We are not suggesting that fewer dollars go to local governments,” Currie added, “but we do believe more should go to counties out of Michigan’s General Fund. If we can’t properly fund services during this long period of economic growth, when do state leaders think they can?”
Since 2004, the state has saved itself more than $2.4 billion by not making revenue sharing payments to counties that it should have.