Honigman Capitol Report


Governor Whitmer Announces “Growing Michigan Together”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the new Growing Michigan Together Council at the recent Mackinac Policy Conference. The annual gathering hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber on Mackinac Island included representatives of Michigan’s major industries mingling with lawmakers at the island’s Grand Hotel. Governor Whitmer’s announcement was followed by the appointment of Hilary Doe as Michigan’s Chief Growth Officer. Doe will work alongside the council on an effort to grow the state’s population and boost economic growth. Governor Whitmer stated “Growing Michigan Together is about investing in our people, places, talent, and education…with her extensive experience in policy, strategy, and technology, her future-oriented work to empower communities and tackle the biggest challenges, and her commitment to our state, Hilary Doe is an ideal candidate to lead our Growing Michigan Together efforts and get the job done.” Doe is a leader in nonprofits, technology and public policy, previously serving as national director of the Roosevelt Network where she built and led an organization that engaged thousands of young people in public policy and civil engagement nationwide. luded presentations focusing on state and federal economies and state government revenues. Official revenue forecasts were established for fiscal years 2023, 2024, and 2025 by a consensus of the conference principals including the State Treasurer, the Director of the Senate Fiscal Agency, and the Director of the House Fiscal Agency. 


Detroit Mayor Duggan Proposes Land Value Tax Plan

Another key announcement during the Mackinac Policy Conference was made by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. During a speech at the conference, Mayor Duggan announced a new tax proposal called the Land Value Tax Plan. Under the plan, cities like Detroit would be able to increase land taxes while reducing home and structure taxes. The plan is designed to level the playing field between vacant landowners and single-family homeowners. Duggan explained that “we have a property tax system that punishes anyone that builds in Detroit and strongly rewards anyone who owns vacant land and completely neglects it…our land has value and it’s time we tax it that way and stop incentivizing blight”. Under the new plan, 97% of homeowners would see a reduction in their property taxes with the median homeowner saving 27% on their tax bills. Additionally, 70% of small businesses will see a reduction in property taxes with a typical retailer saving 5%.


Phones Down Starting June 30

Governor Whitmer signed legislation last Wednesday that requires drivers to keep their hands off their phone while driving, implementing legislation that advocates have been pushing for several years. The change takes effect June 30. Public Act 41 prohibits the holding or using of a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Public Act 39 makes changes regarding commercial vehicles, driving points and driver improvement courses. Public Act 40 amends state law so that the prohibitions can be applied to individuals with a level 1 or 2 graduated license. Whitmer stated her goal was to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2050. Michigan is the 26th state to adopt “hands-free” legislation and other states have reported falls in distracted driving related accidents after implementing the legislation.


Looking Ahead

“Hurry up and Wait!” An old saying commonly applied in the legislative process, legislators and stakeholders, alike, have been on the sidelines while the Governor, House, and Senate negotiate final budget targets. The first time in recent history Democrats have controlled all three positions, the basic reality of a negotiation remains the same. The first step, however, is agreeing on the size of the total pie before parties can sort out how big the pieces are.

After the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on May 19, experts from the House and Senate fiscal agencies and the executive budget office agreed on projected revenue amounts for the coming fiscal year. There was an initial goal to complete an agreement on legislative budget targets by the first week in June. Once agreement is reached, parties will work through differences between the executive recommendation and the House and Senate passed budgets- deciding how many of each parties’ priorities can be met within the agreed upon budget amounts.

The legislature has moved budgets into conference committees where the final agreements can be drafted into amendments, voted on in a “conference report” and sent to the House and Senate floor for an up or down vote. Each chamber has named its conferees to preside over this process. Once target agreements are made, the conferees will go to work. While the legislature is required to complete budget work by July 1, there is no legal consequence for missing this deadline. Of greater concern to members could be returning home to the district over the 4th of July Holiday without having provided school districts clarity on the upcoming year’s spending. At minimum, we anticipate a school budget before July 4.

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