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Community College Budget: The Senate Appropriations Committee has begun voting out budgets, and is scheduled to act on the community colleges budget this Wednesday, April 22. The House Appropriations Committee, meanwhile, has already scheduled meetings all three session days the week of April 20, so we will likely see action during that time.  

 

Revenues Reported Lower: The March Revenue Report issued by the Senate Fiscal Agency notes that state tax collections are $80 million lower for the month of March than was estimated earlier. General Fund revenues were $29.9 million lower than expected while School Aid Fund revenues were down $48.4 million. Through March, year-to-date General Fund collections are up $150.4 million and School Aid Fund collections $52.3 million below expectations. 

 

House Votes to Eliminate February Elections: Last week, the full House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Bills 4270 - 4276, which collectively would eliminate the regular February date for statewide elections. The February date is not used often, but some legislators have concerns about its value given the consistently low voter turnout at February elections. Conversely, opponents of the bills expressed concerns that eliminating the possibility of a February election could pose timing problems in the event that a proposal fails. The bills now go to the Senate for consideration. 

 

Senate Passes State Reciprocity Agreement: For the last several months, the MCCA has been working with the public and private universities, the Midwest Higher Education Compact (MHEC) and the State Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) on legislation to authorize Michigan's participation in reciprocity agreements for distance education with other States.  That legislation, Senate Bill 221 (Schuitmaker), was unanimously supported on Thursday by the Senate.

Since the discussions for a statewide agreement began, the MCCA has voiced concerns over the fee structure proposed to support LARA's work in approving and regulating these agreements. We are pleased to report that the Senate-passed version of SB 221 includes a two-year sunset on the program specifically so that Legislators will have a chance to revisit the fee structure in the near future. 

 

House Panel Discusses MEGA Credits: Last week, the House Tax Policy Committee engaged in a lively debate over House Bills 4333 (Chatfield) and 4334 (Glenn). Together, the bills would prohibit the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) from entering into any new agreements for MEGA credits, and would also prohibit the Authority from modifying an existing agreement in a way that would reduce a company's tax liability. Committee Chair Jeff Farrington stated clearly that support of these bills would not indicate that Michigan is backing away from tax incentives altogether. Nonetheless, the bills received harsh criticism from the Michigan Manufacturers Association, whose members use the majority of the MEGA credits. 

 

Community College Day on May 7: This is a hands-on advocacy day for community colleges, the purpose being to bring presidents, trustees, senior administrators, and even students to Lansing to highlight the important work of community colleges across the state. In addition to a reception in the Capitol from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM featuring the Henry Ford College culinary arts program, we are encouraging colleges to make individual appointments with your legislators, especially if you were unable to meet with them during the Legislative Summit back in January. Please make appointments with your local legislators soon, if you have not already done so. 

 
 

 

HELPFUL LINKS

Michigan Legislature’s website (bill tracking and committee meetings)

Michigan House of Representatives

Michigan Senate

Community College Legal Authority (Michigan Constitution)

Community College Act of 1966

 

For the map of the community college districts, click here.

 

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