The Budget is Off to a Great Start
Governor Snyder's Executive Budget Recommendation increases state aid to libraries by $300,000 this year to $8.8 million. Michigan eLibrary funding remains constant at $1.75, full Renaissance Zone Reimbursements are included at $4.7 million and MPSERS payments to libraries has a $1.2 million increase to a total of $2.55 million. This budget proposal is an excellent first step and highlights libraries' importance and presence to the administration. This is the third year in a row libraries have had an increase. The idea of budget surplus for the state makes us think about full funding, however, it is unrealistic to believe our budget could nearly double over last year to achieve that maximum. This increase is an appropriate next step to continued funding growth. This year's budget proposal would once again give us our highest funding rate since 2009.
Remember, this is only the first step in the budget process. The House and Senate Appropriations members will organize by subcommittee and discuss the budget for each state department. MLA and GCSI are currently meeting with legislators to outline the importance of libraries and adequate library funding.
MLA's Top 10 Advocacy Issues for 2013
Helping Libraries and Library Professionals Succeed is MLA's mission. Advocacy efforts and professional development are two of the critical components of this mission. Both elements call for libraries, public, academic and specialty, to work together for the betterment of the Michigan library community as whole. On the advocacy side, MLA, our lobbyists GCSI and engaged members monitor and review hundreds of pieces of legislation each year that could impact everything from the way libraries serve their patrons to the educational requirements needed to work in a library. MLA is engaged not only for libraries but for the future of librarians, both academic and public as well as the future of our schools of library and information science programs. By weighing in on the critical issues, MLA is working to help maintain the integrity of the library profession and the viability of our hundreds of Michigan libraries across the state. While the MLA Legislative Committee reviewed numerous legislative issues here are the top ten for 2013.
Only six scheduled session days remain for the Michigan legislature in 2013. They broke November 14 for a two-week recess encompassing deer hunting and the Thanksgiving holiday. Members will return on December 3 for two weeks. As we move into an election year, the House and Senate will attempt to finish business on some items that could be considered controversial. Next year members are expected to spend more time in-district with constituents and less time in Lansing working on legislative business.
Activity at the Capitol is brisk. Legislators appear to be taking advantage of the final few weeks before their November deer hunting break to introduce new legislation. MLA and GCSI lobbyists are carefully reviewing these for any impact on our libraries. We continue to meet regularly with legislators to educate them about libraries and explain how their legislation can affect their local library.
Once again legislators are back in session until their two-week break starting November 14. It looks as though millages and DDAs are taking center stage for the fall and MLA and lobbyist GCSI are meeting with legislators to talk about these issues. Our concern, of course, is the continued assault on library funding.
First some positive news. As we reported earlier, Rep. Amanda Price (R - Holland) has agreed to sponsor a bill amending the District Library Establishment Act. The bill would ensure that if one of the localities associated with the District Library decides to disincorporate, it would not impact the ability of the District Library to continue existence. We are awaiting the bill draft from the Legislative Service Bureau.