Reminder: Hansen to hold ‘fly in’ office hours at community airports

LANSING―State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, has scheduled office hours at community airports across the 34th District in May to provide area residents with an opportunity to speak with their senator in a one-on-one setting.

“Our airports are hubs of commerce and play an important role in Michigan’s economic turnaround,” Hansen said. “They are also a great resource to pursue recreational interests and host community events and are a fantastic environment to learn about Michigan’s aviation industry.”

Hansen will spend time talking with constituents about issues of importance to the area.

Specific office hours locations are as follows:

Friday, May 3—Fremont
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Fremont Municipal Airport, Airport Classroom
7756 West 60th St.
Fremont, MI 49412

Monday, May 6—Ludington
8:30 to 10 a.m.
Mason County Airport, Airport Conference Room
5300 W. US 10
Ludington, MI 49431

Monday, May 6—Shelby
1:30 to 3 p.m.
Oceana County Airport, Airport Conference Room
1805 W. Baseline Road
Shelby, MI 49455

Friday, May 10—Muskegon
1 to 2:30 p.m.
Muskegon County Airport, Brownstone Restaurant
101 Sinclair Drive
Muskegon, MI 49441

For further information, please contact Hansen’s office by visiting his website, www.SenatorGoeffHansen.com; via email at SenGHansen@senate.michigan.gov; or by phone, toll free at 1-866-305-2134.

Hansen bill enabling local units of government to improve waterfronts headed to governor

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen that would enable local units of government to establish districts for financing a variety of waterfront improvement activities.

Senate Bill 218 is now on its way to the governor to be signed into law. The legislation would restore and expand the tax increment financing authority for water resource improvement, an economic development tool that expired at the end of 2011.

“This bill represents a local financing tool that can be used to keep Michigan’s ports, harbors and waterways accessible and sustainable for both commercial and recreational traffic,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “As chair of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee, I’m committed to developing short- and long-term solutions to address the dredging problems facing our waterways.”

Under Hansen’s measure, the use of the authority would be expanded to include dredging, the removal of spoils, or other improvements or maintenance activities that enhance navigability of a waterway. The bill also increases the scope of a waterfront improvement district and the activities of the waterfront improvement authority board.

Tax increment financing (TIF) is an economic development tool designed to capture the tax revenue from the incremental growth in property value within a district, for use in financing public improvements in that area. It generally has been used in commercial and industrial areas.

Local officials in Pentwater asked Hansen to consider reinstituting the water resource improvement TIF to help prevent a potential catastrophe with their waterways.

“As we work to develop a comprehensive dredging strategy for Michigan, it’s critical that we alleviate an emergency that currently exists,” Hansen said.

Several waterways bills have recently been approved by the Legislature and signed into law. These include measures to provide emergency funding for local dredging projects; to create a private marina loan origination fee program; and to streamline the dredging permit process.

Note: Audio remarks will be available for broadcast Thursday from this website. Click on Podcasts, above.

For more information on the issue of waterways dredging and accessibility, click on Hansen Homepage, above. Then click Waterways Dredging & Accessibility.

Hansen to hold ‘fly in’ office hours at community airports

LANSING?State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, announced Monday that he has scheduled office hours at community airports across the 34th District in May to provide area residents with an opportunity to speak with their senator in a one-on-one setting.

“Our airports are hubs of commerce and play an important role in Michigan’s economic turnaround,” Hansen said. “They are also a great resource to pursue recreational interests and host community events and are a fantastic environment to learn about Michigan’s aviation industry.”

Hansen will spend time talking with constituents about issues of importance to the area.

Specific office hours locations are as follows:

Friday, May 3—Fremont
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Fremont Municipal Airport, Airport Classroom
7756 West 60th St.
Fremont, MI 49412

Monday, May 6—Ludington
8:30 to 10 a.m.
Mason County Airport, Airport Conference Room
5300 W. US 10
Ludington, MI 49431

Monday, May 6—Shelby
1:30 to 3 p.m.
Oceana County Airport, Airport Conference Room
1805 W. Baseline Road
Shelby, MI 49455

Friday, May 10—Muskegon
1 to 2:30 p.m.
Muskegon County Airport, Brownstone Restaurant
101 Sinclair Drive
Muskegon, MI 49441

For further information, please contact Hansen’s office by visiting his website, www.SenatorGoeffHansen.com; via email at SenGHansen@senate.michigan.gov; or by phone, toll free at 1-866-305-2134.

Hansen restores state funding to area libraries

State Sen. Goeff Hansen announced Wednesday that he’s secured nearly $5 million to fully reimburse libraries for property tax revenue forgone in tax-exempt Renaissance Zones across Michigan.

The intent of the state’s Renaissance Zone Act, adopted in 1996, was to provide local governments with a tool to spur economic growth as well as job creation and retention. Michigan Renaissance Zones are regions of the state designated as virtually tax free for any business or resident who moves into a zone for a period of up to 15 years.

The act specifies that the state must reimburse public libraries located within a Renaissance Zone for all revenue that was foregone due to this tax exemption. Renaissance Zone reimbursement payments to libraries ceased during debate on the fiscal year 2011 state budget.

“One of my top priorities this year has been to provide the necessary funding to fulfill the state’s obligation of reimbursing our libraries that are located within Renaissance Zones,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Our libraries are an important community resource and the state must ensure they remain operational and accessible.”

In the 34th state Senate District, seven libraries affected by the elimination of the Renaissance Zone reimbursement lost a total of more than $120,000 in local revenue that would otherwise have been collected. For fiscal year 2013, the Hart Area District Library, located within an Agriculture Processing Renaissance Zone, saw a reduction of $62,000 in revenue as a result of this lost state reimbursement, which represents 20 percent of their current operating budget.

“I will continue to advocate on behalf of this funding as the budget process moves forward,” said Hansen. “This funding should be restored because area residents depend on the essential services provided by our local libraries.”

The Senate education budget includes this funding and it is now before the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
 

Editor’s note: See the chart below for the preliminary fiscal year 2013 amounts to be reimbursed to libraries in Renaissance Zones across the state.

 

 

 

Hansen bill would clarify state’s Promise Zone scholarship program

LANSING—Sen. Goeff Hansen introduced a bill on Thursday that would clarify the requirements of Michigan Promise Zone scholarship programs throughout the state.

The Promise Zone scholarships are intended as additional financial resources for eligible students to use toward a post-secondary education.

Senate Bill 312 would help school districts and other eligible entities generate the money necessary to fund the scholarships.

“Our local economy is on an upward trajectory, and we must ensure access to as many post-secondary opportunities as possible to prepare our children for 21st century jobs,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “Sharpening an educational tool like the Michigan Promise Zone Authority provides a community greater flexibility to assess local needs and raise the funds necessary to provide financial assistance to as many eligible students as possible.”

The Michigan Promise Zone Authority Act authorized the creation of 10 promise zones across the state in 2009.

The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (ISD) was awarded one of the 10 zones and is the only countywide Promise Zone in the state. Due to financial stipulations as outlined under current law, the Muskegon ISD has been unable to generate the funds necessary to award scholarships to eligible students.

According to Hansen, current law requires a Promise Zone to fund the first two years of the scholarship to all eligible students in the Promise Zone. After the first two years, the Promise Zone can begin to capture one-half of the growth in the State Education Tax (SET) to support funding for scholarships.

Hansen’s measure would strengthen Muskegon’s Promise Zone and increase its ability to secure funding.

To fulfill the requirements in current law and also provide for increased access to higher educational opportunities, SB 312 would do the following:
•    Allow Promise Zones to pay for additional college-related expenses;
•    Allow the Promise Zone Authority to establish minimum payment amounts, dependent upon the financial resources available;
•    Allow a regional Promise Zone, such as Muskegon ISD, to elect to operate within a subset of its constituent school districts;
•    Allow the Promise Zone Authority to attach reasonable, college-success-related requirements to their scholarships; and
•    Provide greater flexibility to Promise Zones in resetting their base years.

“The changes proposed in SB 312 are vital for the Muskegon Promise Zone to begin the process of awarding financial scholarships to eligible students,” Hansen said.

SB 312 maintains the requirement that the Promise Zone Authority raise the necessary funds to provide two years of tuition to all eligible students in a zone.
    
Last session, the House passed House Bill 5330, sponsored by Rep. Jon Bumstead, and HB 5135, sponsored by former Rep. Holly Hughes. Due to a lack of session days remaining before the end of 2012, the bills were not able to be taken up by the Senate and therefore had to be reintroduced in a new legislative session.

SB 312 is awaiting consideration by the Senate Committee on Economic Development.