Michigan Municipal Leaders Seek PPT Fixes and Increases to Revenue Sharing and Local Transportation Funding

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Michigan Municipal Leaders Seek PPT Fixes and Increases to Revenue Sharing and Local Transportation Funding
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Image by Michigan Municipal League (MML)
LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League and local leaders held a press conference today calling for action from the state on issues crucial to the future prosperity of Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships. Topping the list are transportation funding, critical problems with the recently passed personal property tax legisation, and the ongoing pattern of revenue sharing cuts that continue to gut local coffers and make it increasingly difficult to provide the local services that Michigan citizens expect in their communities. Read the press release.
Michigan Municipal League President David Lossing, mayor of Linden, led the media roundtable event Monday at the League’s Lansing office. Also speaking were East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett, a member of the League board; Durand Mayor Deb Doyle, past president of the League; Samantha Harkins, director of State Affairs, and League CEO Daniel Gilmartin.
About 10 media outlets attended, including reporters from the Associated Press, mlive.com, Detroit News, Michigan Public Radio, TV 6 and TV 10; MIRS and Gongwer news services; and Lansing City Pulse.
“While the problems facing Michigan’s communities is the result of many factors, it is still a fact that the state government, legislatures and governors alike, have cut revenue sharing for local municipalities by more than .2 billion over the past dozen years,” Lossing stated in a press release distributed at the event. “It is a fact that the state government has taken those funds and used them to solve problems in the state budget or to pay for state programs and policies. And it is a fact that those cuts have contributed to thousands of local police officers and firefighters losing their jobs, reductions in road and bridge repairs, massive cuts to local parks and libraries, and much more. Michigan cities have been largely pushed aside by our state government for far too long, and anything short of an increase in statutory revenue sharing is not good enough.”
Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed no funding increases for statutory revenue sharing in his 2014 state budget, despite the massive cuts made to revenue sharing funding over the past decade.
In addition, legislation passed in December – on the final day of the last state Legislature session – would cut another stable source of local funding for local communities — the business personal property tax (PPT). This legislation would cut local community funding up to 20 percent in many communities, assuming Michigan voters approve a ballot question authorizing the PPT law to take effect. The Legislature still has not voted to put the PPT law on the August 2014 statewide primary ballot.
Daniel Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League, said the PPT legislation passed in December created “several outstanding issues” that must be resolved.
“We delivered a letter to the Lieutenant Governor outlining the issues in the PPT bills that must be resolved, and we were told they would be resolved,” Gilmartin said. “It is essential that those issues be fixed, and anything short of that is not good enough. If they are not resolved, replacement funding to local communities would be threatened to the point of potentially causing irreparable and permanent fiscal damage to literally dozens or hundreds of Michigan cities.”
Samantha Harkins, director of state affairs for the League, said Michigan cities are also concerned about the transportation funding proposals being considered by the Governor and Legislature. While the League supports a substantial increase in investments for transportation infrastructure and transit, any proposal that fails to increase funding to specifically address local infrastructure needs will not be good enough.
“Anyone who travels our local roads and state highways knows that Michigan’s transportation system and infrastructure are in deplorable shape and in desperate need of a major reinvestment,” said East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett. “The state must provide a level of funding that adequately addresses local transportation system needs. Inaction is not an option.”
Other officials attending the event were Meridian Township officials Julie Brixie, and Milton Scales; East Lansing Councilmember Kathy Boyle, Caro Councilmember Joseph Greene; Gladwin Mayor Thomas Winarski; Grand Blanc Mayor Susan Soderstrom; Grand Haven Councilmember Robert Monetza; Huntington Woods Mayor Ron Gillham; Ithaca Councilmember L.D. Hollenbeck; and Quincy Village Manager Eric Zuzga.
Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

2008 San Diego Wildfire Roundtable
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Image by Tricia Wang 王圣捷
wildfire-roundtable2008.pbwiki.com

Come this Wednesday night to UCSD for a roundtable of local urban planners, activists and lawyers who will give presentations on the unequal treatment of immigrants during the fire and misleading explanations for the causes of the fire.

Please check out the wiki above for speaker’s bio and resources on the fire.

Presenters:

Andrea Guerrero – ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
Pedro Rios – American Friends Service Committee
Rick Brady – City of Santee (UCSD Urban Studies Planning alumni)
Enrique Morones – Border Angels

The San Diego Wildfires Crisis: Hidden Consequences of Urban Sprawl and Unequal Media Representation
A Roundtable follow up to the 2008 Culture Conference: Crisis, Emergency, Global Processes
Sponsored by the UCSD Sociology Department

It was only last fall that San Diego County experienced its own crisis, the county-wide fires. The wildfires were truly emphasized for their out-of-control "wildness," while the real reasons of urban sprawl were downplayed or flat-out ignored. This crisis, like many others crisis around the world, such as famines, was framed as a case of "natural
disaster," instead of a case of mismanaged urban planning, ill-led concepts of fire "prevention." Therefore the causes fell on to nature, instead of socio-political reasons.

For many around the world who watched the news coverage of our local crisis, it appeared that only middle- to upper-class, Caucasian home-owners were affected by this disaster. Newscasters biasedly compared the state-of emergency disaster to New Orleans’s Hurricane Katrina in a fashion that portrayed San Diegans as wealthy, coordinated, charitable and peaceful in contrast to New Orleaneans who were portrayed as poor, disorganized, and violent. Essentially, San Diego "citizens" were framed as united, while New Orleans "refugees" were portrayed as lacking in unity. Just like Hurricane Katrina, the media coverage and the treatment of the San Diego fires were embedded in long-standing issues of class, race and ethnicity.

This roundtable aims to bring out many the socio-political reasons that contributed to the fire and the politics of who’s stories were represented in the media and which ones remained untold. For example, many of the fires’ human victims were migrant workers living in canyons who, largely because of their extreme marginalization, were not able to be reached and informed about the fires. In stark contrast to the mainstream coverage of property owners (like the TV reporter standing outside his own house for hours of coverage). The human toll of the fires was largely ignored, or even blamed on these victims for consuming UCSD Regional Burn Center resources for instance.

We hope you will join us for this special roundtable that will follow up on the global and theoretical themes of UCSD’s Sociology Dept’s 2008 Culture Conference.