Budget Developments at State and Federal Level are Promising News for Communities

Posted on February 11, 2021 by Dene Westbrook

The Michigan Municipal League has been actively working to help our communities emerge from the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and there are two promising developments at the state and federal level on this effort.

With the support of League member communities, these two developments would provide some much-needed assistance to our cities, villages and townships battling COVID-19 on the front lines.

The first development took place recently in Washington D.C. in the form of a $350 billion emergency aid reconciliation package that provides flexible aid for our states, cities, counties, tribes and territories. The League is asking our members to join with the National League of Cities (NLC) in supporting this proposal. (Continue reading below for details on the federal budget plan and steps you can take to support this plan.)

The second development happened this afternoon when the state unveiled Governor Whitmer’s proposed budget. Here is the League’s full media statement and details about the Governor’s proposal. This statement was released today:

Statement from MML Board President Mayor Bill Wild in Response to State of Michigan Budget Address

In response to today’s Michigan state budget presentation, William Wild, Mayor of Westland and President of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees, issued the following statement:

“Michigan communities are the heartbeat of our state and we are thankful that that Gov. Whitmer’s budget makes needed investments in revenue sharing, infrastructure and local programs that make our state a great place to live, work and visit.

It is through the provision of high-quality services, the modernization of our infrastructure, and the promotion of a sustainable environment that we will create equitable opportunities for our people, businesses, and communities to thrive.”

Governor Whitmer’s Budget recognizes the important role communities have in this recovery, and that their recovery and our economic recovery is inextricably linked. We look forward to working closely with the Governor and lawmakers in a bipartisan manner to invest in our local communities.”

Some of the budget highlights the League will focus on during the budget process include:

  • $70 million to provide relief from revenue losses for Michigan’s 24 city income tax communities impacted by the pandemic;
  • 2 percent increase in statutory revenue sharing worth $5.2 million and an expected 1.8 percent increase in per capita Constitutional revenue sharing of around $15 million for nearly 1,800 cities, villages and townships;
    • Additional $5 million in grants for local public safety recruiting and training grants;
    • $10.2 million for public safety de-escalation and crisis response training
  • Infrastructure & Environment:
    • $300 million for 120 local bridges;
    • $290 million from Clean Water Plan for local grants;
    • $40 million for high water infrastructure local relief grants;
    • $20 million for rapid response contaminated sites clean-ups;
    • $10 million for lead poisoning prevention.

The League is appreciative that Governor Whitmer has put this budget proposal together, but it needs the support of our community leaders to make it a reality. Please contact your state legislators to encourage their support of the Governor’s budget proposal.

Update on Federal Support from the National League of Cities

Now, here are details on the federal budget proposal as shared by the National League of Cities:

This week the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee released legislation on the state and local government aid section under the COVID-19 emergency aid reconciliation package. The National League of Cities is supportive of this bill as written.

It is critical that that community leaders nationwide continue to keep the pressure on to ensure this legislative text stays in the bill through every stage. The NLC is pushing our network to take action in a couple of ways. Please join this effort in the following ways:

  1. Sign on Letter: In advance of the Committee’s markup Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, please join a sign-on letter in support of the proposed $350 billion in aid to states, cities, counties, tribes, and territories.  You can read the letter and add your organization’s name here. Individual cities, towns, and villages are welcome to sign on as well. Please sign by 8 a.m. Friday, Feb . 12.
  2. Member Action Alert: NLC is continuing to ask our membership to take action by contacting their Members of Congress utilizing this the easy-to-use Quorum tool.

It is important our Congressional leaders hear your voice during these unprecedented times – the fight for direct COVID-19 relief continues.

We cannot get complacent because state and local aid are included in the current Congressional proposal. We have seen this movie before, and we have been excluded at the eleventh hour in previous packages. We must keep providing data, stories and letters of support to Congress. All members of Congress need to hear from local leaders in their districts on fiscal impact NOW – during the bill markup happening this and next week!

What you do now can help set America’s families and communities back on the path to economic recovery and prosperity for years to come. It will take all of us to respond, recover, and rebuild.

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