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Nov 05 2013

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Transparency, Accountability and Your Pocket book!

There so many bills introduced and many BAD bills that no one can possibly keep up and at times its is overwhelming.  Additionally, we are all unpaid volunteers with other responsibilities, home family, jobs. However, there are certain bills that so egregious IF we can catch them, we should. And there IS time to catch these!

WE NEED TO SEND SOME EMAIL TESTIMONY IN TO HOUSE COMMERCE COMMITTEE WED (Nov 6th)  BY 10:30 AM!

Committee Clerk : mabdul@house.mi.gov

ALL INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE COMMITTEE MEETING & LOCATION BELOW THIS POST

transparentcy, truthWhat we have here is a whole package of VERY BAD bills in Committee that give MORE power to a quasi-government agency that is NOT subject to the Open Meeting Act and NOT subject to FOIA has an appointed board but uses YOUR tax dollars! NO TRANSPARENCY NO ACCOUNTABILITY

That would be the Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC) via the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF)

Some background:

The MSF was created under Public Act (P.A.) 270 of 1984 as an autonomous entity with the stated intent of producing economic development in the state. Executive Order 1999-1 (under John Engler (R) expanded the authority of the MSF by transferring all state funded economic development programs to the MSF.

The MSF was also transferred to the Department of Management and Budget as an autonomous state agency, governed by a board of directors. As a state agency, the MSF was able to enter into interlocal agreements with local entities as provided under the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967.

The interlocal agreements between the MSF and local entities created the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which is also an autonomous entity of the state of Michigan.

The MEDC acts as the administrative arm and provides all program services for programs created under the MSF. Therefore, a majority of the state appropriations and employees are transferred to the MEDC.

The MSF is administered by an 11 member board and is charged with approving private activity bonds; authorizing Community Development Block Grant applications; recommending renaissance zones to the State Administrative Board; approving MSF designated renaissance zones; and acting as fiduciary agent with respect to the 21st Century Jobs Fund investments.

Control and management of the MEDC is conducted by the MEDC Executive Committee consisting of 20 members, appointed by the governor.

If you recall the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967 (UCA) was what Snyder used to circumvent the legislature and make a “compact” with Canada for the DRIC Brdige. The UCA allows for state agencies to enter into compact with even foreign governments. Here is one begging for repeal!

Gov.Snyder’s Inter-local Agreement with Canada to Build the NITC Bridge!

If you also recall Gov Snyder has a HUGE problem with transparency:

After Veto, Gov. Snyder’s Commitment To Transparency Questioned
Governor vetoed bill passed unanimously by the Legislature

In rare veto, Michigan Gov. Snyder rejects bill dealing with ‘cross boundary’ government agreements

Should the legislature override Governor Snyder’s veto of the Transparency Bill? (YES they could have since the bill passed without not one NO vote but maybe House Speaker Bolger got in the way?)

These bills expand power and scope of the MEDC, via the MSF both “autonomous entities” including new appropriations for Pure Michigan

I have not read all the bills in their entirely but I am relying on the Senate Fiscal analysis of these bills and that MEMO which is a good summary of the expansion of powers is HERE

This MEMO provides a summary of the proposed changes to the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) Act in a package of both Senate and House introduced bills.

The bills include Senate Bills 269, 270, 271,272, and 278 as well as House Bills 4071, 4480, 4481, and 4482.

Generally, the bills would expand the authority of,and provide greater latitude to the MSF. Additionally, the bills would consolidate and eliminate reporting requirements. The bills are not tie barred

 HB 4482 is the bill the expands the power of the MEDC

Caperson’s bills creates a new level in the Michigan Development Corporation (Urban Cooperation Act (Public Act 7 of 1967) which will benefit his district the 38th

No doubt one of the “bennies” he gets for voting YES on Snyder’s Medicaid Expansion

Senate Bill 397 would amend the Next Michigan Development Act to allow the board of the Michigan Strategic Fund to designate a sixth Next Michigan Development Corporation.  (Currently, only five such corporations can be designated.)

House Bill 4782  (which parallels Senate Bill 398) would amend the same act to specify that the Michigan Strategic Fund, when determining whether to designate a Next Michigan Development Corporation, must give preference to an “eligible Act 7 entity” made up of at least two contiguous counties that combined have a population of more than 103,000 but less than 106,000 (at the 2010 census) and where the population of the largest city of one of the counties, when combined with the largest city of the other county, is more than 32,500 but less than 35,500.  (This would appear to apply to Marquette and Delta Counties and the cities of Marquette and Escanaba.)

An “Act 7 entity” is a reference to an entity formed under the Urban Cooperation Act (Public Act 7 of 1967, extra session).

And in a show of “bi-partisanship” Casperson teamed up with Kivela (D)

And apparently Leonard and Foster put their heads together with Santana (D)

Isn’t that special?!  GOP and the Dems joining hands and singing Kumbaya to expand the size and scope of government, ones that lack Open Meeting and FOIA  Granholm would be and now Snyder are so proud!

This entire package of bills should be opposed particularly HB 4482

ALL INFORMATION SENDING FOR SENDING YOUR TESTIMONY (via email) OR TESTIFYING IN PERSON  TO THE COMMITTEE TO OPPOSE THESE BILLS IS AS FOLLOWS:

These bills are in the Commerce Committee

WED.. Nov 6th 10:30 AM
Room 519, House Office Building, Lansing, MI

COPY & PASTE

frankfoster@house.mi.gov,GailHaines@house.mi.gov, DaleWZorn@house.mi.gov,
JeffFarrington@house.mi.gov,BenGlardon@house.mi.gov,JoelJohnson@house.mi.gov,
AricNesbitt@house.mi.gov,PatSomerville@house.mi.gov,RickOutman@house.mi.gov,
WayneSchmidt@house.mi.gov,TomLeonard@house.mi.go,

 

In Why Not? Column
Democrats on the Committee

JonSwitalski@house.mi.gov,VickiBarnett@house.mi.gov,HarveySantana@house.mi.gov,
JimTownsend@house.mi.gov,StacyErwinOakes@house.mi.gov,GretchenDriskell@house.mi.gov,
HenryYanez@house.mi.gov,

 

Frank Foster (R) Committee Chair, 107th District
Dale Zorn (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 56th District
Gail Haines (R) 43rd District
Wayne Schmidt (R) 104th District
Jeff Farrington (R) 30th District
Ben Glardon (R) 85th District
Joel Johnson (R) 97th District
Aric Nesbitt (R) 66th District
Pat Somerville (R) 23rd District
Rick Outman (R) 70th District
Tim Kelly (R) 94th District
Tom Leonard (R) 93rd District
Jon Switalski (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 28th District
Vicki Barnett (D) 37th District
Jim Townsend (D) 26th District
Harvey Santana (D) 9th District
Stacy Oakes (D) 95th District
Gretchen Driskell (D) 52nd District
Henry Yanez (D) 25th District
_____________________________
Malika Abdul-Basir, Committee Clerk
517-373-7256

 

 More of Gov. Snyder’s Problems with Transparency
Gov. Snyder’s NERD Fund Pays Salary Of Adviser Baird And For Internship Program, Spokeswoman Says

Gov. Snyder dissolving NERD fund with anonymous donors

Top Snyder adviser Richard Baird to be paid by state


Activist sues for donor names to NERD fund, wants Mike Duggan to take stand Monday

Permanent link to this article: http://grassrootsmichigan.com/?p=3905

1 comment

  1. Joan

    Committee Clerk, please into this e-mail into the Committee testimony record, thank you

    Committee Members,

    VOTE NO: On Senate Bills 269, 270, 271,272, and 278 as well as House Bills 4071, 4480, 4481, and 4482.

    According to the Senior Fiscal Analyst Memo, http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/billanalysis/House/pdf/2013-HLA-0269-C030089A.pdf

    “Generally, the bills would expand the authority of,and provide greater latitude to the MSF. (AND via the MSF the MEDC)
    MEDC acts as the administrative arm and provides all program services for programs created under the MSF.”

    The question is: Why would the people of Michigan want to expand the power and authority of any entity that is NOT subject to the Open Meetings Act and FOIA has an appointed board but uses our tax dollars?

    The answer: We do not

    HB 4482 is particularly egregious in the expanded powers and Senate Bill 397 would amend the Next Michigan Development Act to allow the board of the Michigan Strategic Fund to designate a sixth Next Michigan Development Corporation. (Currently, only five such corporations can be designated.)
    House Bill 4782 (which parallels Senate Bill 398) would amend the same act to specify that the Michigan Strategic Fund, when determining whether to designate a Next Michigan Development Corporation, must give preference to an “eligible Act 7 entity” made up of at least two contiguous counties that combined have a population of more than 103,000 but less than 106,000 (at the 2010 census) and where the population of the largest city of one of the counties, when combined with the largest city of the other county, is more than 32,500 but less than 35,500. (This would appear to apply to Marquette and Delta Counties and the cities of Marquette and Escanaba.)

    These bills appear to the average Michigan citizen as some kind of pay off for Sen. Casperson’s last minute change of heart vote on the Medicaid Expansion.

    The people of Michigan want TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACCESS in governemnt. Instead of introducing bills that expand the powers of entities that provide none of these our elected officials should be looking to
    dissolving the MEDC, an entity that also has well documented problems of not only transparency and accountability but ethics as well.

    The Mackinac Policy Center has done a series of excellent articles about the problems of the MEDC HERE

    Furthermore, according to a 2013 audit by Michigan’s Auditor General the MEDC WITHHELD information required by statue from legislators (The Commerce Committee members especially should be interested) that proves it’s program are UNSUCCESSFUL in the very area the MEDC was created to accomplish, give tax incentives to provide employment and economic impact to the State. Additionally, the MEDC does NOT effectively monitor program compliance of those who are in the program.

    According to Michigan Auditor General report:

    Audit Objectives

    Our performance audit* of the Renaissance Zone Program, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), had the following objectives:

    1.To assess the effectiveness of MEDC’s efforts to evaluate the Renaissance Zone Program’s impact on creating new jobs, retaining jobs, and stimulating capital investment within the State.

    2.To assess the effectiveness of MEDC’s efforts to monitor Renaissance Zones for compliance with development agreement requirements.

    MEDC did not ensure that all information required by statute in relation to the Renaissance Zone Program was completely and accurately reported to the Legislature. As a result, users of the annual report did not have complete and accurate information regarding the Program.

    MEDC did not properly report all information required by Section 125.2695 of the Michigan Compiled Laws in the calendar year 2008, calendar year 2009,and calendar year 2010 annual reports to the Legislature.

    MEDC did not adequately monitor Renaissance Zones’ compliance with the requirements of their development agreements. As a result, MEDC lacks assurance that the zones are actually meeting the terms of their development agreements.

    Also, Renaissance Zones that were out of compliance with the requirements of their development agreements continued to take advantage of the tax incentives provided by the Program while providing little or no employment and economic impact to the State.

    Based primarily on information provided by the Department of Treasury, we estimate that approximately $820 million in State and local tax revenue (aka OUR MONEY) was abated in relation to the Program from its inception in fiscal year 1996-97 through fiscal year 2009

    10. Therefore, it is imperative that MEDC be able to determine the true value of the Program.

    Thank You,
    Joan Fabiano
    Grassroots in Michigan

    “There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily.” George Washington, letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795

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