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March 17, 2020

In This Issue

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act  
  • Economic Recovery Package Next Steps
  • State Legislature Funds Workforce Initiatives Going-PRO, MI Reconnect
  • Lansing City Council Amends FY20 Budget
  • Join the LRC-PAC Newsletter 
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislative package H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act last week. This legislation heads to the U.S. Senate for approval then to the President’s desk for signature. The bill contains $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including:
– Funding for emergency family and medical leave
– Emergency unemployment insurance stabilization and access
– Emergency paid sick leave
– Tax credits for paid sick and paid family and medical leave
  
The summary of the legislation is available for review. There will be another legislative package introduced in the next 10 days that will be an economic recovery package.

Economic Recovery Package Next Steps
The LRCC is part of the recently formed U.S. Chamber coronavirus task forces. One of the action areas is calling on the Trump Administration and Congress to take critical steps to support America’s employers during this period.

Supporting employers is key to helping employees. Specifically, the U.S. Chamber is requesting Congress and the Trump Administration to consider enacting the following three proposals: 
1.) Enact legislation canceling the payment of all payroll taxes typically paid by employers for March, April and May. 
2.) Enact legislation expanding and streamlining loan programs for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees experiencing revenue loss as a result of the coronavirus. 
3.) Enact legislation enabling the creation of credit facilities to provide loans and loan guarantees to employers with more than 500 employees experiencing significant revenue loss as a result of the coronavirus.

>> Review the letter sent to the Trump Administration and Congress <<

State Legislature Moves on Supplemental Budget
The State Legislature approved a supplemental budget (Senate Bill 151) through the appropriations process. As you may recall, Governor Whitmer line-item vetoed several items in the FY 20 last year, including the Going PRO Talent Funds.

Below are key highlights from the supplemental budget that will restore some of those vetoes as well as add additional dollars to important initiatives advocated by the LRCC: 
– Going PRO – $15 million restricted funds for a partial year restoration. 
– Michigan Reconnect Grant Program – $35 million in Talent Investment Fund spending. Reconnect provides financial assistance to Michigan residents ages 25 and up towards completion of an associate degree or industry-recognized skills certificate.

The Legislature also is approving Coronavirus Response Funding – $50 million in federal general funds and $25 million in state public funds. These funds will be used for critical state and local response preparedness and activities. 

Lansing City Council Amends FY20 Budget
There have been ongoing financial challenges to the city of Lansing, specifically, relating to the city’s unfunded liabilities (pension obligations and retiree health care costs). In addition to the unfunded liabilities, the city’s chief strategy officer recently identified several financial errors that were in need of correction. Just last night, the Lansing City Council amended the 2020 budget to cover budget shortfalls as a result of the financial missteps.  

Recent news stories on the city’s financial issues: 
Lansing Financial Health Team Letter to Mayor Schor, City Council
Lansing City Council slashes millions from reserves to cover a budget shortfall 
Lansing wrestles with legacy costs as reserve funds fall
Mayor Schor on WILS 1320AM  
Lansing faces a $7 million general fund shortfall, including $2.5 million in IRS fines. Officials hope to negotiate with the IRS over the fees. Still, City Council remains in the position of being forced to amend Lansing’s budget.

Local government financial health is one of the LRCC’s top policy priorities so we will continue to focus our efforts on working with the Lansing Financial Health Team, Schor Administration and City Council to work on viable solutions on addressing both the city’s budget and unfunded liabilities.

Join the LRC-PAC Newsletter
If you’re not familiar with the Lansing Regional Chamber-PAC (LRC-PAC), it’s the political arm of the LRCC that is focused on electing local candidates to county commissions, the township board of trustees and city councils. As the saying goes, “all politics is local” because at the end of the day, local units of government impact business daily from permitting, zoning, taxing and regulations.

This year, we will continue to focus on electing candidates to regional offices such as the County Commission and Township Board of Trustees, but we can only do that with your help.
 
With your 2020 contribution, we will add you to our exclusive LRC-PAC quarterly newsletter that provides updates on all political activities. Your contribution will help the LRC-PAC’s mission of electing candidates who will work with the business community to make sure that businesses can operate, expand and thrive throughout our region.  >>> DONATE <<<

**Note: All contributions are voluntary. No member dues are used for PAC purposes.

All questions can be directed to Steve Japinga, vice president of public affairs, LRCC at sjapinga@lansingchamber.org or (517) 853-6467.