Municipalities, Business Leaders Call for Community Stabilization Plan From MI Legislature

The 24 communities across Michigan that have instituted a city income tax, including Benton Harbor, are reportedly facing significant revenue losses due to workers who have been working remotely from home or other facilities outside of the community collecting the tax are among those calling for a “Community Stabilization Plan” in light of the ongoing pandemic.

In fact, municipal and business leaders who have issued a call for the Michigan Legislature to adopt such a “Community Stabilization Plan” in the COVID-19 era, have slated a virtual news conference for next Monday to address the issue that they say is necessary to help cities and local government to continue to operate and provide services during and after the pandemic.

Those conducting the press conference at 10am next Monday, December 30th, include:

  • Rosalyn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids
  • Dan Dimitroff, Partner, RDS Management
  • Pauline Repp, Mayor of Port Huron
  • Dr. Eric Scorsone, Michigan State University Center for Local Government Finance and Policy
  • William Wild, Mayor of Westland and Michigan Municipal League Board President

Supporters of a “Community Stabilization Plan” say that government operations that are needed to continue business activity like permit approvals, zoning approvals and other crucial services could grind to a halt without allowing remote meetings to proceed as permitted under recent changes to the Open Meetings Act, which are set to expire at the end of this year.

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They also point out that the state’s 24 city income tax communities, like Benton Harbor, are experiencing significant revenue loss due to the change in many employees’ work location forced by the pandemic.

In addition they contend that all local governments are struggling with revenue declines due to the interaction between Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment. Those declines are projected to accelerate with looming reductions in commercial property value caused by the pandemic and increased remote work.

Organizers say that unless the Michigan Legislature acts quickly to pass a Community Stabilization Plan addressing those three issues, local government bodies will be unable to conduct business, and revenue losses will result in drastic cuts to public safety, infrastructure, parks and other vital services essential to promoting quality of life as well as talent attraction and retention, compounding the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Monday news conference will take place via Zoom at 10am on Monday, and registration is required to take part in it. Here is a link to the registration process:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-acYL7ZFRPCL93bnJkedJw