Through advocacy at the state and federal levels, the Michigan Municipal League proactively represents municipalities to help them sustain highly livable, desirable, and unique places within the state. From our Capital Office in Lansing, the League maintains a full-time advocacy presence at the state Capitol through our state and federal affairs department that communicates the municipal viewpoint on countless bills that are introduced during each two-year legislative session.
In addition, the League conducts policy research on current and emerging municipal issues. Our policy research supports our member services and advocacy work by evaluating the impacts of state and federal policies on local governments, identifying best practices, and providing related guidance to members on policy implementation.
Chris Hackbarth, Director, State & Federal Affairs
[email protected], (517) 908-0304
Shanna Draheim, Director, Policy Research
[email protected], (517) 908-0307
Core Legislative and Policy Principles
Vibrant 21st century communities are the economic engines of our state. Central to attracting the priceless commodity of knowledge-based workers is place. Successful communities achieve that sense of place by effectively leveraging the following key assets, which are at the forefront of our advocacy and policy research work.
- Physical Design and Walkability
- Multimodal Transportation Networks
- Environmental Sustainability
- Cultural Economic Development
- Welcoming and Diverse Communities
- Messaging & Technology
Municipal Finance and Changing the Fiscal Model
Reforms to the municipal finance system are necessary for our survival. These reforms must provide fiscal stability and sufficient flexibility to allow for the necessary investments in attracting and retaining the talent that drives our economy.
Cost Containment Measures: Michigan’s communities are burdened by a crushing level of debt from retiree health care obligations (OPEB) and to a lesser degree employee pensions, diverting money from current operations and service delivery. We need to move to a different service delivery model for providing reasonable benefits without burdening future budgets.
Local Government Structure: We should maximize investment in existing infrastructure rather than creating systems and infrastructure that reduce economies and efficiencies elsewhere. Evaluating the structure of local government in Michigan can reveal innovative ways to increase efficiency in how our communities meet the demands of residents and businesses.
More Stability and Diversity for Local Revenue: State laws and policies should support local revenue options and innovative investment financing tools for our communities to be competitive with the surrounding Midwestern states.
Emerging Issues and Policy Guidance
The League conducts research on, and works with other state and federal partners to track emerging issues which might impact the quality, prosperity, and fiscal well-being of our member communities. As new policy and governance issues arise, the League provides information to members and policy-makers through our blog posts, case studies on best practices, reports, outreach events, and example policies.