The Michigan Municipal League’s Anthony Minghine has been all over the state discussing Michigan’s broken system for funding municipalities and last month he was in Westland.
Just before the holiday break, Tony had a great conversation about the saveMicity work and municipal finance issue with Westland Mayor William Wild on the city’s cable access program “In the W.”
It’s a great conversation that’s definitely worth checking out on the city’s Vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/197335646.
Tony is the first of three guests on the show and his 10-minute segment runs from the beginning to the 10:52 mark.
In addition to talking about our saveMIcity work, Minghine discusses the recent Lame Duck legislative session in Lansing as well as legislation at the federal and state level that could impact communities, including efforts to reform retiree health care in the state, and changes to the taxation of municipal bonds at the federal level. They also talked about the negative affect of Proposal A and the Headlee amendment on Michigan cities.
Mayor Wild and Minghine explained how Proposal A and Headlee severely limit a city’s ability to rebound from the economic recession and housing market crash of the mid to late 2000s. The economy is now improving, but it’ll take years, and in many cases decades, for cities to collect the same level of property taxes they did prior to the recession.
“I say it all the time that we’re delivering 2016 services at 2008 (property) values because the tax bill in Westland is equivalent today to what it was back in 2008. We’re delivering 2016 services based on 2008,” Mayor Wild told Minghine.
“And you’re ahead of the game,” Minghine responded. “The average in the state is 2005 (tax levels). There are some communities that have lost 50 percent of their value. … And the demand for services, as you know, haven’t changed. So you’re trying to provide 2016 services with those 2008 dollars. It’s almost impossible.”
About our saveMIcity work: Great places make for a strong economy, and the research supports that contention. By employing community-based placemaking strategies, we strengthen both our economic and social future. The League believes that at the heart of great places are strong cities. Across the country, cities account for over 80 percent of GDP, but in Michigan we have failed to invest in this vital resource.
After years of working within the existing paradigms, the League is undertaking a major legislative and policy push called saveMIcity. Anchored at saveMicity.org, this initiative is aimed at reforming municipal finance in Michigan to encourage renewed investment in our communities. This is intended to be an examination of how we can do things differently in Michigan to assure that local government can’t just survive, but can thrive. To that end, the League will be developing policy recommendations around three themes: Cost Containment, Revenue Enhancement, and Structure of Government.
We are taking this approach to break away from the historically limiting tactic of incremental change within the context of where we are today. We need new ideas, innovative approaches, and bold action to create a new future for communities around Michigan.
Is this an issue that you care about and would like to have a discussion about locally? The League will work with you to plan an event in your hometown with community groups, local chambers of commerce, local media, etc. Just contact us and we will provide resources and/or a speaker to help foster the discussion.