Legislation that would institute the Governor’s proposed water fee has passed the House by a vote of 60-49. A substitute to HB 5898 was adopted in committee and stripped the bill of the proposed fee increase. The bill now creates a Rebuild Michigan Fund, directs the Department of Treasury to create a water assistance grant program and requires water suppliers that serve 1000 people or more to provide the DEQ with an inventory of residential and commercial accounts based on meter size.
As introduced, the the fee would raise $110 million annually. $25 million would go to asset management planning, $75 million would go to a state capital investment program and $10 million would go into an emergency fund. For more specifics on the proposal please click here and here.
The League is opposed to the introduce version of the bill because it takes revenue from local systems, redistributes it and forces us to compete to get a small portion of our own money back. Even though the bill has been stripped of many of the items we object to, the League continues to remain opposed. We are fearful that as part of a lame duck negotiation the fee could be added back into to the bill. We encourage you to reach out to your Senator and ask them not to support legislation that would take revenue away from our local water systems.
SB 943, which would have raised tipping fees, was not passed by the Senate last week. The legislature is now looking at an option that would not raise the tipping fees, but would use new revenue coming in from the collection of internet sales tax to fund brownfield clean ups and recycling grants.
We will be following both issues closely this week for any potential impact they may have on our members.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at email@example.com or 517-908-0303.