News - Advocacy
Thursday, June 22, 2017 12:00 AM

MLA Advocacy - June 22, 2017

Interior image of the Michigan State Capitol Dome

State Aid to Libraries is slated to see a $1.2 million increase for fiscal year 2018

MLA credits our library champions in the Senate, Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland) and Senator Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) for their unwavering support of libraries. Their work on behalf of Michigan libraries is the reason we are seeing more than a million dollar increase for the second time in three years. In MLA's conversations with the two senators, they have made it clear they would like to see libraries continue to move upward toward previous funding levels. Both the governor and the House proposed a flat 2018 budget and the Senate proposal asked for nearly $3 million in additional library funding. The conference committee agreed on the $1,191,700 which brings the total state aid to libraries to $11,067,700. This represents a 12% increase and per capita payment of about $0.36.

The Renaissance Zone line item saw a $2 million dip as those areas continue to expire and the tax revenue begins to be collected and dispersed. Michigan e-Library funding is held steady at $1.75 million as well as funding for the Library of Michigan including the support needed to ensure LSTA funding.

Please take a moment to thank Sens. Stamas and Hansen for their support. The Senate adopted the conference report today, passing the state's $56.5 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018. The budget has been sent to Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature.

Other education funding saw $60-$120 increases in per-pupil funding for a total increase in K-12 student spending of $153 million, $120.5 million for at-risk districts; 1% increase for community colleges and 2% increase for higher education if they keep tuition increases below 3.8%.

Technical Bills SB 305-310 Clarifying Tax Capture Changes are Introduced

In January, Governor Snyder signed into law six bills exempting dedicated library millages from certain tax captures. This marked a significant victory for the future of Michigan libraries allowing libraries to protect their dedicated special millages. The intent of the original bills was to allow the library to opt out of the tax capture only if there is no long-term debt.

There are a few issues of clarification that need to be addressed to prevent any confusion regarding the intent of the legislation and to help prevent fraud. These changes are strictly technical in nature and are outlined in SB 305-310. They clarify the definition of obligation to ensure that long term debt or bonds are appropriately specified in that definition. We continue to work with bill sponsors on language in the bills and expect a hearing in Senate Finance in the fall.

Michigan Participates in ALA 2017 National Library Legislative Day

Thirty-seven library supporters from Michigan joined the 500 participants in Washington, D.C. for the American Library Association 2017 National Library Legislative Day. Meeting with senators and congressional reps, the group explained the importance of the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding to Michigan libraries and the residents they serve. We also said thank you because when congressional negotiators reached agreement on a bill to fund the U.S. government through September, the "omnibus" bill included $231 million for the IMLS - a $1 million increase over FY2016. We also urged them to oppose any cuts to funding in FY2018.

Once again we are asking librarians from targeted areas to contact their Congressional representatives. If you are a constituent of Rep. John Moolenaar from Michigan's 4th District please contact his office through the ALA Legislative Action Center to urge his support for IMLS, and $186.6 million for LSTA and $27 million for IAL in FY 2018.

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