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E-M:/ Revenue Sharing

Enviro-Mich message from Julie Stoneman <juliemec@voyager.net>

State revenue sharing--yes, it is an environmental issue.

In the next two weeks, state legislators will likely decide how to
redistribute state collected taxes back to local governments.  They could
take bold new steps to assure that previous public investments in older
cities and mature suburbs are protected or they could be the unwitting
partners to the march of low density, land consumptive, automobile
dependent sprawl across the landscape.  With only two weeks left of the
squirrely lame duck session, being bold will be a stretch.

The current revenue sharing formula is based in part on relative tax
effort, favoring communities, mostly cities, with higher tax rates--higher
rates because these communities provide more services, often on a regional
basis.  Legislators from the west side of the state claim that this system
"rewards" cities for raising taxes and
have proposed formula changes that would have a negative
impact on the operating budgets of Detroit and other cities while funneling
money to less developed areas.  It has become an east vs. west, city vs.
township and Detroit against the world debate.

As long as the debate remains that, lawmakers are overlooking a powerful
tool to staunch the flow of people, resources and revenues out of our
cities at the expense of farm and forest land.  MEC has argued that revenue
sharing should be linked to a comprehensive state policy that rebuilds
cities, protects previous investments in existing infrastructure,encourages
less land consumptive development patterns, conserves resource lands
important to the economy, and prevents the concentration of poverty in
older communities.  Rather than the "us vs. them" rhetoric plaguing the
debate, we
should be rewarding communities-townships or cities--that strive to meet
these goals.  Even the Michigan State Chamber of Commerce went on record
stating that revenue
sharing should be linked to "big picture" land use issues.

But no state goals are in place and the vehicle bill in the Senate, SB
1181, is far from the bold policy we need.  At the very least, legislators
need to hear from smart people like you that changes in the revenue sharing
formula should not be at the expense of our built communities nor at the
expense of rural resource lands.

Please call your Senator today and your state
representative soon after to relay that simple message.  Don't worry about
understanding complicated revenue formulas, that's all they need to hear.
MEC's letter to
the Michigan Senate will be posted on our website by
the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 1--www.mienv.org

Don't delay, call today.

Julie Stoneman
Director of Land Programs
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
Ph:	517-487-9539
Fax:	517-487-9541
Email:	juliemec@voyager.net

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