Michigan Credit Union League

Government Affairs Update - January/February 2007

Budget Woes, New Business Tax Tops Lansing Agenda

The state revenue estimating conference has reported that Michigan faces an $800 - 900 million shortfall in its current fiscal year budget.  The Granholm administration says it has repeatedly cut state spending during the last four years, slicing some $3 billion from state services and programs in areas including higher education, arts, cultural funding and local government revenue sharing.

At the same time, the state has faced cuts in federal aid and rising spending pressures, including increased caseloads in Medicaid and food assistance programs; a growing prison population; amid escalating health care costs.  The challenge for the administration will be to put together a budget proposal that addresses the problem.

Governor Granholm delivered her State of the State address on Feb. 6 and was also expected to present her plan to balance the state's current budget and her proposed fiscal budget for 2008 on Feb. 8.

If filling the state's budget gap was not bad enough, Lansing lawmakers are also gearing up to resume debate on a replacement for Michigan's new $1.9 billion Single Business Tax (SBT), which expires at the end of the year.  Governor Granholm's new SBT replacement proposal will likely not be unveiled until after the State of the State address.

Given Michigan's budget woes, it's unlikely any SBT replacement tax will be revenue neutral.  MCUL Governmental Affairs will continue to monitor the debate to ensure the credit union tax exemption is not altered.

Legislative Leaders Appoint Committees

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, has made committee appointments, tapping freshman State Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, to head the Banking & Financial Institutions Committee where a majority of legislation that affects credit unions is directed.  Richardville is joined by State Sens. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond, Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, Tony Stamas, R-Midland, Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, Dennis Olshove, D-Warren, and Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit.  Sen. Nancy Cassis will also continue to chair the Senate Finance (tax policy) Committee.  The MCUL is extremely happy with the appointment of these lawmakers.

In the Michigan House, Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Twp., has appointed State Rep. Andy Coulouris, D-Saginaw, chair of the Banking & Financial Services Committee.  Rep. Coulouris is joined by State Reps. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, Ed Clemente, D-Lincoln Park, Jeff Mayes, D-Bay City, Virgil Smith Jr., D-Detroit, Tim Moore, R-Farwell, Brian Calley, R-Portland, Kevin Green, R-Wyoming, and Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc.  Also of note for credit unions, Speaker Dillon has appointed State Rep. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, as chair of the House Tax Policy Committee.  Rep. Bieda is a former board member at St. Angela Parish CU (ME).  Another freshman lawmaker, State Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, will chair the House Education Committee and serve on the Tax Policy Committee.  Rep. Melton is on the supervisory committee at USA CU (OC).

Interesting Comings and Goings Around the State Capitol

Former Senate Minority Leader Bob Emerson, D-Flint, was selected by Governor Granholm as Michigan's new Budget Director.  He succeeds Mary Lannoye, who is now the governor's Chief of Staff.  The MCUL has a strong relationship with Emerson, which will be useful as the administration looks to fill the current budget gap. 

Bonior to Leave Community Bank Board to Run Edwards Campaign

Mt. Clemens-based Community Central Bank Corp. has announced that former U.S. Rep. David Bonior will be leaving its board of directors as a result of his decision in December to lead the presidential campaign of Democrat John Edwards.  Bonior left the bank board holding company and that of its subsidiary, Community Central Bank Feb. 5 and will temporarily relocate to North Carolina, the home state of candidate Edwards.

PAC Lapel Pin Sales Kicks Off 2007 Fundraising Efforts

The 2007 PAC Lapel Pins to benefit MCULAF (state PAC) are now available for purchase.  Credit unions can get a jump start on their 2007 goal by participating in this important fund-raising event and the newly-introduced Gold Star Program.  This year, a calendar of suggested fund raisers is being introduced and all fund-raising information and resources can be found on the MCULLAF/MCULAF portion of the MCUL's Governmental Affairs Web page.

CUNA GAC Quickly Approaching

The 2007 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) is now just a few short weeks away.  Michigan credit unions still have time to sign up if they have not already done so.  Slated for Sunday through Wednesday, Feb. 25-28, at the Hilton Washington & Towers, the CUNA GAC will once again feature a full program of nationally recognized speakers, breakout sessions on important issues facing the industry and Capitol Hill visits with lawmakers. 

2007 MCUL GAC: Elections and the Economy

The 2007 MCUL GAC will be held Wednesday and Thursday, March 14-15, in Lansing.  The two-day event will commence with a keynote speech by CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill and end with fund-raising advice and assistance from both MCUL and CUNA political affairs staff.  Mark your calendar today for this event where the election results and repercussions will be discussed, new leadership will be evaluated and Michigan's budget will be forecasted.  This will be accompanied by perennial favorites such as the regulator roundtable, awards luncheon, legislative reception, legislative and regulatory agenda update and targeted lobby visits.  Registration material will be mailed shortly.

2006: Another Good Year for PAC Fundraising

As the books closed on 2006, $341,396 or 76 percent of the combined PAC fundraising goal of $450,000 was raised — up more than $12,000 from 2005.  Credit unions raised $238,104 or 79 percent of the $300,000 MCULLAF (federal PAC) goal.  Additionally, credit unions raised $103,292 or 69 percent of the $150,000 MCULAF (state PAC) goal.

One hundred credit unions raised at least 100 percent of their MCULLAF goal, while 81 credit unions raised at least 100 percent of their MCULAF goal.  Fifty-nine credit unions raised at least 100 percent of both their MCULLAF/MCULAF goals.  In 2006, 78 percent of credit unions under $50 million and 72 percent of credit unions over $50 million participated in political action fund raising.  MCULLAF continues to be the second largest federal credit union PAC in the country, second only to CUNA's CULAC.

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