The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) is an alliance of Michigan counties working to enhance county government through advocacy, shared services and education.
Founded on Feb. 1, 1898, MAC is the only statewide organization dedicated to the representation of all county commissioners in Michigan. MAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advances education, communication and cooperation among county government officials in Michigan. MAC is the counties’ voice at the state and federal level, providing legislative support on key issues affecting counties.
NEW!: Court ruling validates arguments to end 'Dark Stores' property tax loophole, local governments say
LANSING ― A Michigan Court of Appeals ruling against a Big Box retailer in the Upper Peninsula validates the case against the "Dark Stores" property valuation method, and the need for an immediate legislative fix to the problem, representatives of local government associations said (May 27).
In Menard, Inc. v. City of Escanaba, a three-judge panel said the Michigan Tax Tribunal made an error of law in accepting a Dark Stores-style appeal by Menards and cutting the retailer's value by more than half from the original assessment.
The decision is a significant victory for local governments that have argued against the Dark Stores technique's artificial lowering of property values around the state. It also validates the reforms embodied in House Bill 5578, sponsored by Rep. Dave Maturen (R-Kalamazoo County), now before the Michigan House of Representatives.
"This is a huge step forward for fairness in tax law," said MAC Deputy Director Steve Currie. "The court made note that using just the sales approach is insufficient, that deed restrictions have to be considered in how a property is valued and that there is an 'anti-competitive' nature to deed restrictions being used in an inappropriate fashion."
Bosworth appointed as MAC's director of governmental affairs
The Michigan Association of Counties announced today the appointment of Deena Bosworth as its new director of governmental affairs.
Bosworth returns to the role she held at MAC from December 2013 until August 2015, when she accepted a vice presidency with Big Fireworks of Michigan.
"We are thrilled to have Deena back at MAC," said Steve Currie, deputy director. "Her knowledge of the legislative process is well-known, and, of course, she understands county issues from long experience. With the number and variety of challenges confronting county governments today, ranging from Dark Stores to the question of handling 17-year-old offenders as juveniles, we will need Deena to hit the ground running."
At MAC, Bosworth follows Dana Gill, who left in March for a position with The Heat and Warmth Fund in Detroit.
See the full release.
Federal court permanently enjoins Secretary of State from enforcing gag order law
LANSING, MICH. — U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara has accepted an agreement between the Secretary of State's office and local governments and school groups, permanently enjoining Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from enforcing a law passed in December that prevented local officials from providing factual information on local ballot proposals.
O'Meara's order, entered today (April 28), references his previous temporary injunction against enforcement of the law, saying that the local governments had "demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that (the law) is unconstitutionally vague and thus void."
The gag order was part of a larger campaign finance bill that passed the Legislature with little debate in the final days of last year's legislative session and was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, becoming Public Act 269 of 2015.
"County commissioners and other local leaders will be pleased to know they can continue to inform their constituents about ballot issues in the same fashion that they have done for years," said Matthew Bierlein, a plaintiff in the lawsuit,a Tuscola County commissioner and second vice president of the MAC Board of Directors. "Now that this dispute is behind us, everyone can turn their attention back to cooperatively addressing Michigan's challenges."
See the full news release.
MI County Matters website, campaign launched to educate public, policy-makers on central role of county government
A new website and campaign to help inform the public and policy-makers about the central role county services play in daily life was unveiled April 20 before an audience of state and local leaders at the Michigan State Capitol.
MI County Matters pairs quick summaries of county responsibilities with large databases on county activities to give the public a complete picture of what county leaders do on their behalf, explained Timothy K. McGuire, executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties.
“MI County Matters was conceived as a response to an ongoing challenge for MAC and our members: How to quickly and clearly explain the importance of county government to Michigan residents’ daily lives,” McGuire said to open the briefing in the ornate Speaker’s Library at the Capitol.
MAC praises House, Senate appropriations leaders as revenue sharing numbers grow
Michigan residents who daily utilize county services stand to benefit from the decisions made so far by House and Senate budget leaders on revenue sharing funds for counties.
This week, the Senate's General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, under the leadership of Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland County), approved a budget bill for fiscal 2017 that includes a 2 percent increase in county revenue sharing over Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal. In dollar terms, the subcommittee budget calls for a total of $219.5 million ― $4.4 million more than Snyder had proposed. ... see full release
MAC's Steve Currie talks revenue sharing with Dave Akerly of WILS radio in Lansing. (April 15, 2016)
More than 300 county leaders from across the state convened for the 2016 MAC-MCMCFC Legislative Conference in Lansing Feb. 29-March 2. In addition to hearing keynote addresses from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Chief Justice Robert Young, Jr., conference attendees enjoyed policy workshops and a legislative briefing from MAC.
In addition, about one-third of the Michigan Legislature turned out for the Legislative Breakfast, during which MAC honored Rep. Dave Maturen and Sen. Curtis Hertel with County Advocate Awards for their efforts in 2015.
CLICK HERE to see presentations for the 2016 Conference
(Note: You must be a registered user of the MAC website to access the additional photos and archives.)
MAC members crisscross Capitol Hill to brief Michigan members of Congress
County commissioners from across Michigan joined MAC Board members, other county leaders and medical care facility administrators on a tour of congressional offices on Capitol Hill this week during the 2016 National Association of Counties Legislative Conference.
Led by Board President Jerry Doucette, the Michigan delegation met with Congressmen John Moolenaar (R-4th District), Mike Bishop (R-8th District) and Dale Kildee (R-5th District) and attended a special briefing in the Senate Russell Building with Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.
Members discussed MAC's top federal priorities for 2016, including:
Full funding for the federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Michigan is the second-largest recipient of federal PILT east of the Mississippi River (Florida).
Medicaid coverage for pre-trial detainees. Such coverage would relieve a major unfunded federal mandate and is likely to produce significant savings to county budgets.
Enactment of the Marketplace Fairness Act. This bill would grant state and local governments the authority to enforce existing sales and use tax laws on sales in e-commerce.
"Fostering these interactions between the local officials across our state and our federal leaders in Washington is a key mission for MAC and, frankly, it's just fun to sit in as elected officials discuss how to create a higher quality of life for our state's residents," said Tim McGuire, executive director.
MAC, Tuscola's Bierlein part of coalition seeking federal court action against election law restrictions
MAC and other local government and school groups around Michigan announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against changes to Michigan's Campaign Finance Act adopted at the end of 2015; these changes impose a 60-day gag order on local officials communicating with voters about local ballot measures. Among the named plaintiffs to the lawsuit is Tuscola County Commissioner (and MAC Board second vice president) Matthew Bierlein, whose county has a millage question on the March 8 ballot.
Read the coalition's statement on the lawsuit.