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Press Release


Contact:
Matt Bach, Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317
mbach@mml.org; www.mml.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb 25. 2014

Local Government Leaders Urge Legislature to Restore Revenue Sharing Cuts, and Fix or Scrap EVIP

Proposed 2015 State Budget Hopefully Ends the Legislature’s Decade-Long Raid of Revenue Sharing Funds

LANSING, MI –Local government leaders testifying on the proposed 2015 state budget today in Lansing urged the Legislature to restore the massive cuts made to local revenue sharing over the past decade and either fix or scrap the state’s controversial Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP).

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed 2015 state budget is the first in many years that includes a significant percentage increase in statutory revenue sharing for local communities. But following more than $6 billion in cuts to revenue sharing made by the Legislature over the past dozen years, the proposed increase is only a good start.

“We are hopeful the proposed increase is a new recognition by the Governor and Legislature that Michigan will never return to prosperity unless and until its local communities are desirable places to live and work for the high-wage workers, jobs and industries of today,” said Utica Mayor and Michigan Municipal League President Jacqueline Noonan. “We hope it signals that the Governor and Legislature have ended their annual raid of revenues that, by law, are supposed to flow to local communities for essential local services.”

East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett, a member of the League’s Board of Trustees, said the proposed increase in statutory revenue sharing is appreciated, but does not come close to restoring all of the local funds diverted by the Legislature to state programs and services in recent years.

“The statutory revenue sharing increase proposed by Gov. Snyder is appreciated as it is the first significant percentage increase in these funds in the past three governors,” Triplett said. “In dollars, the proposed increase amounts to a fraction of the $6 billion in statutory revenue sharing cuts made by the Governor and Legislature over the past decade.”

Triplett testified before the Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government along with fellow League members East Lansing Clerk Marie Wicks, Alma City Manager Phillip Moore, Howell City Manager Shea Charles and Middleville Village Manager Rebecca Fleury.

The committee decided to schedule a second hearing on the revenue sharing and EVIP issues due to the large number of people desiring to testify.

Samantha Harkins, state affairs director for the League, said the proposed 2015 budget falls far short of relieving the fiscal distress caused by revenue sharing cuts to so many local communities across Michigan.

"It is important to note that over the same years the Governor and Legislature were diverting statutory revenue sharing funds to the state budget, state spending increased 26%, while local governments were forced to cut budgets and shed 17% of all local government jobs," Harkins said. "We urge the Legislature to increase statutory revenue sharing by a larger amount in this budget, continue to make increases in future budgets until the $6 billion in cuts are fully restored, and never again raid funds that by law are supposed to come to local communities for essential services."

The local government leaders also asked state lawmakers to either fix or dismantle EVIP, which was created in 2011 as a way to tie revenue sharing funds to the efforts local governments to improve efficiency and lower costs. Instead, EVIP has created massive new paperwork reporting requirements for local governments; created instances where state bureaucrats are inappropriately second-guessing decisions made by local elected officials and local government managers; and held up state funding for local communities that are both eligible and qualified.

"While EVIP may have been well-intentioned, it gives a handful of state government bureaucrats the power to micro-manage the decisions of local government managers and local elected officials, and it has turned out to be little more than a bureaucratic, costly and inefficient nightmare for local governments," Noonan said.

Triplett agreed with Noonan's assessment of EVIP.

"The Governor and Legislature must either fix the bureaucratic nightmare that EVIP has become, or scrap the program because it has done nothing but create higher costs and more inefficiency for local governments," Triplett said.

The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.

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