Bill to Limit New Millage Elections Gets Hearing in the House

Posted on November 6, 2013 by Dene Westbrook

The House Elections and Ethics committee took up a package of bills to limit when new elections could be placed on the ballot yesterday.  HB 4887 (Rep. Dan Lauwers) is among the package (including HB 5115-5116 dealing with schools sponsored by Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons) and would only allow local municipalities to place new millages on the ballot for the August regular election date or the November regular election date (straight renewals can be done at any of the four election dates).  The argument of the bill is there is greater voter turnout in the August and November elections so new millages should only be allowed to be voted on during those times. The introduced version of the legislation only allowed a millage to be placed on the ballot for the November General Election but a substitute changing it to each August and November election was adopted.

This is a complete infringement on local control. The funding our municipalities have received from the state by way of revenue sharing/EVIP has been cut by $6 billion in the last decade.  Additionally, Proposal A and Headlee severely limit revenue increases at the local level.  The cuts at the state level coupled with Proposal A and Headlee have left local communities to essentially fend for themselves, which means asking their residents to vote on millages to cover cost of services.  Limiting the timeframe as to when they can ask voters to vote on millages further ties the hands of our local units of government to operate effectively.

The League testified in opposition as did the Michigan Township Association and the Michigan Library Association.  The school groups and the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks are opposed as well.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development issues.  She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.

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