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Samantha Harkins talks about the PPT at the 2013 MML Capital Conference in a packed room.
By Samantha HarkinsPersonal property tax reform was one of the hottest topics of the 2011-12 legislative session, and with lots of work to be done on the new proposal is a top priority of the League in this session as well. State Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills), also a former League Board of Trustees President, kicked off the session by describing her take on PPT as a legislator during the lame duck session in December. Rep. Barnett displayed her usual passion in describing the speed with which the legislature handled such a complex issue with little time to digest a new proposal introduced in legislation with only a few weeks left in the session. Rep. Barnett walked legislators through the process and gave a broad overview of the reform.Following Rep. Barnett’s remarks I presented a detailed presentation of the PPT reform. The League was involved in work groups for the first few months of the year, and we expect draft legislation in the coming weeks. At this time there are still a number of questions that remain unanswered including how the reform will deal with tax capture districts (LDFAs, TIFs, etc) and the legality of the essential services assessment.The session was standing room only, and there were a number of insightful and thought provoking questions. The League will continue to monitor the changes to this new legislation as a key priority.Samantha Harkins is Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 517-908-6383 and email@example.com.
Polly Trottenbergy,m U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation Policy speaks at the 2013 MML Capital Conference.
By John LaMacchiaUnited States Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at our 2013 Capitol Conference Awards Luncheon. Due to President Obama's decision to release his budget on the same day their was a last minute change of plans and he was unable to attend. We were very fortunate that Polly Trottenberg, United States Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, was able to attend in his place and provided a very informative presentation on federal transportation initiatives and their role in Michigan.As a result of President Obama's budget being released on the same day as her presentation, she was able to give specific details about his plan. He is going to be moving forward with his "Fix it First Model", and will be asking for $50 billion in upfront money to jump start his vision for improving infrastructure across America and creating a 21st century transportation system. The President is proposing that $10 billion of that $50 billion be specifically concentration on local efforts and is committed to working with individual communities to integrate this investment.Ms. Trottenberg drew a very direct correlation between the the long-term sustainability of the Federal Highway Trust Fund and decreasing revenue for road funding in Michigan. Much like Michigan, the Federal Government has not seen an increase in the federal gas tax rate in many years. This has resulted in less dollars available as more fuel efficient vehicles take to the road and the number of vehicle miles traveled decreases. Even with these problems, she highlighted the importance of needed investment to build a complete transportation system.Other exciting news included a $40 Billion commitment by the President to the rail system in the United States. This includes $6.4 Billion to intercity rail systems. Ms. Trottenberg highlighted how the State of Michigan has made great strides in the City of Detroit with the M1 Rail project and the recent passage of the Regional Transit Authority. She also mention that a 5th round of TIGER Grants will be made available by the Federal Government and encouraged the State of Michigan to continue to look for innovative ways to use those funds.Ms. Trottenberg's presentation was one of hope and optimism. The commitment by the Obama administration to our local communities was well received by our member and she was rewarded with a enthusiastic applause upon conclusion of her presentation.Following her keynote address, Ms. Trottenberg was kind enough to participate in a press conference with Executive Director of the League Dan Gilmartin, League President David Lossing, Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan, and State Senator Roger Kahn. She described how investing in transportation is key to our nations economic success, and to Michigan's economic success. Executive Director Gilmartin, League President Lossing, and Mayor Noonan, highlighted the need for Michigan to move its transportation system out out the 20th Century and into the 21st Century. Legislative inaction on this issue is no longer and option. New revenue for road is needed in this state and those new dollars need to be spent in our local communities building great place were people want to live, work, and play. Senator Kahn, who has been a great leader on the issue of increasing road funding in Michigan, highlighted the benefits of saving lives, creating jobs, and saving money, as a result of investing in infrastructure.
The Michigan Municipal League was honored to have Ms. Trottenberg participate in our Capital Conference this year. We are very please with the encouraging message she delivered about President Obama's commitment to the nations transportation system, and the recognition of Michigan's critical role in that system.
John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-908-0303.
Governor Rick Snyder speaks at the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference.
LANSING, Michigan - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder opened the 2013 MML Capital Conference discussing the differences he has discovered in running state government as compared to private business.Noting that unlike a business, whose bottom line is about profit, government is about service and carries with it a much broader array of issues to be addressed than any private sector entity. In a usual refrain however, the governor also noted that while government is not a business, neither is it a funding mechansim.From there the governor settled into familiar themes about how government needs to be closer to its customers. As he has previously stated, the governor told the crowd that they need to be continue to be more efficient, that he wants to do more together to provide more value to our mutual customers and that points of difference shouldn't get in the way.As is his custom, the governor took questions. Regarding a question about language in appropriations bills penalizing local governments for settling contracts prior to the effective date of the new right to work law, the governor said that while he didn't advocate for the language, he said he needs to be cognizant of the fact that such language was a priority of House Republicans, with whom he must negoitate a final bill.The governor was also asked about the lack of an increase in revenue sharing given the state has a $500 million surplus. To that, the governor said the constitutional portion has increased. Regarding legality of the essential services assessment of the new personal property tax legislation, he would be willing to look at it but has take into consideration other opinions he might seek from the Supreme Court. In regards to the EVIP program, he said that the goal is not to make locals lives more difficult.The governor also said that he isn't interested in taking credit or blame and just wants to address problems together. He reiterated his mantra of "relentless positive action" but one has to wonder if the governor really understands that no amount of "rpa" can diminish the fact that the ability of local offiicials to serve their customers continues to be negatively impacted by a broken municipal finance system.Without such recognition and a renewed state/local partnership to address this important issue, the governor just might find a growing number of well-run communities with urgent budget issues sooner rather than later.Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.
Here's a quick peek at the seven CEA winners from the Regional Roundtables:
Region 1- Linden/Holly/Fenton's Shiawassee River Heritage Water TrailRegion 2 - St. Joseph's Silver Beach DevelopmentRegion 3 - Belding's Community GardenRegion 4 - DeWitt's Community ShowcaseRegion 5 - Imlay City's Economic GardeningRegion 6 - Rogers City's Dancin' DowntownRegion 7 - Ironwood's Depot Park. More details coming soon! Congrats to ALL our fantastic entries!
Every region had outstanding projects to offer, each one of them worthy of a win. Here are the other entries, which you'll hear more about next week on the League's new Placemaking blog:
Rochester - Main Street Makeover
Eastpointe - Service line Affordable Protection Program (SLAPP)New Baltimore - "Make New Baltimore Your Destination"Plymouth - Northville Plymouth Fire Agreement
Grosse Pointe - Wellness Center and Patient Facility
Westland - Core Shopping/Dining District
South Haven - Kal Haven Trail Extension and Williams Street Reconstruction
Albion - Crowell School
Bridgman, Baroda, Berrien Springs - 3B's Agri-tourism Ignition Effort
Whitehall - Bioswales and Trails
Mt Pleasant - Access Adventure Trail
Ithaca - Ithaca Unit of the Graiot Co Sheriff's Office
Harbor Beach - Interpretive Sign Project
Ontonagon - Complete Streets
Sault Ste Marie - Historic Water Street
Representatives from the seven region finalists for the 2013 Community Excellence Awards. From left: Linden Mayor David Lossing (Region 1); Rogers City Manager Mark Slown (Region 6); Belding Councilmember Andrea Belding (Region 3); DeWitt City Manager Daniel Coss (Region 4); Imlay City Mayor Margaret Guerrero (Region 5); St. Joseph Mayor Robert Judd (Region 2); and Ironwood Mayor Kim Corcoran (Region 7).
LANSING, Michigan - Michigan Municipal League President David Lossing kicked off the 2013 League Capital Conference today with a personal story about how he recently donated his bone marrow to a complete stranger as part of the Michigan Blood Be the Match Program.
Lossing told his inspirational tale to encourage other municipal leaders at the conference to sign up for the bone marrow registry. Officials from Michigan Blood are attending the Conference at the Lansing Center to register attendees. Those signing up are asked to make a $25 donation and Lossing has generously offered to cover the fee for the first 10 League members who register.
In addition to sharing his bone marrow donation story, Lossing also outlined the successes and challenges experienced by Michigan communities in the past year. He discussed the League’s legislative priorities for the current 97th Michigan legislature. Those priorities are fixing the personal property tax legislation passed in December, ending non-stop cuts to revenue sharing to communities and increasing transportation funding.
About 500 municipal leaders from all portions of the state are attending this year's Capital Conference. Some of the speakers at this year’s event are Governor Rick Snyder, John Porcari, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and Michigan Budget Director John Nixon.
Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at email@example.com and (734) 669-6317.
Linden Mayor and MML President David Lossing kicks off 2013 Capital Conference.
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