Summer is a great time to connect with your elected officials. Back in their home districts, you will find many representatives and senators attending county fairs and local parades and festivals. The entire House of Representatives is up for election this year, so many lawmakers will be even more visible as they campaign throughout the summer break. Now is a good time to make a connection so legislators know who they can count on for factual information about libraries and how they impact their constituency.
State Aid to Libraries and State Budget Maintained
Governor Snyder recommended a 2017 FY budget that was nearly a mirror image of libraries’ 2016 numbers. Last year’s $1 million increase in State Aid to Libraries for fiscal year 2015/16 along with the additional Renaissance Zone Reimbursements remain in the governor’s recommendation. In fact, line items for the Library of Michigan, LSTA and Michigan eLibrary showed a modest $94,000 total increase over last year. Conference committee upheld the budget and the governor this month signed the bill. The latest state revenue estimates came in at nearly a half a billion dollars short of projected causing a flurry of cuts to the state budget.
Libraries are Entitled to 100% Reimbursement of Millages Lost to the Personal Property Tax (PPT) Repeal
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, there is enough funding in the Local Community Stabilization Authority to reimburse all millages at 100 percent including libraries.
The state of Michigan is reimbursing municipalities and if the city, township or other municipality is your taxing authority, they are required to automatically reimburse the library. District libraries will be reimbursed directly. We are finding that a number of municipalities do not understand that libraries should be included in the efforts. In fact, some are under the impression that only essential services can be reimbursed. If your local governing authority staff are unaware, encourage them to contact the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Reimbursement dates are as follows: County allocated millage will be paid on September 20. Other county millage, township millage, and other millage levied 100% in December will be paid the following February 20. All other millage reimbursements will be paid on October 20.
It is important to note that the lowest millage rate levied between 2012 and 2015 will be the amount reimbursed to the library.
Librarians and MLA fought long and hard to get libraries included in the PPT reimbursement two years ago. We were able to get libraries included in PA 86 of 2014. It was part of a 10-bill package that provided for reimbursement to those entities being harmed by the elimination of the PPT. Senate Bill 821 took effect when proposal 14-1 State Use Tax – Ballot Issue passed in August of 2014.
Thank you to the many MLA members and our Governmental Consultant Services Inc. (GCSI) lobbyists who advocated so fervently for libraries on this issue.
MLA Webinar to Address Federal Overtime Rule
An MLA Webinar explaining the new federal overtime rule is coming this summer. The rule, which will be effective December 1, significantly increases the minimum salary level for “white collar” employees to qualify as exempt from overtime pay requirements. Under the new rule, no employee who has a guaranteed salary of less than $47,476 will qualify as exempt under the executive, administrative, or professional exemptions. That’s more than double the current minimum salary level of $23,660 and only slightly lower than the Labor Department’s proposed $50,440. The rule will not affect hourly or other non-exempt workers, who already are eligible for overtime pay.
Funding for LSTA Grants Increased (Reprinted from ALA District Dispatch)
On June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee delivered good news for libraries by increasing funding for LSTA Grants to States and National Leadership Grants to Libraries, while also providing level funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill with no amendments or controversial policy riders.
The Grants to States program, which the President's budget proposed cutting by $950,000, will instead be increased in the Senate bill by $314,000, raising its total funding to $156.1 million for FY2017. That reflects an increase of over $1.25 million from the President's request. National Leadership Grants will also receive a $314,000 increase, bringing its total to $13.4 million. Overall, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will receive a $1 million increase to $231 million for FY2017.
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