State lawmakers could stop local governments from taxing plastic bags

BY RAY WILBUR
Capital News Service
LANSING —Environmental and recycling groups fear the passage of a state bill that would restrict how local governments manage plastic waste and litter. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, would prohibit local governments from banning or placing a fee or tax on plastic bags. Washtenaw County passed an ordinance in June that would put a 10-cent fee on plastic bags used at grocery stores. Other counties, such as Muskegon County, have discussed similar programs.
The bill would make those ordinances irrelevant and create a uniform law to allow businesses to operate smoothly, Stamas said. The bill passed the Senate in May and had a hearing in the House Committee on Commerce and Trade.

Consolidating local government services doesn’t necessarily save money and could harm services

By JACOB KANCLERZ
Capital News Service
LANSING – While the state pushes cooperation among Michigan’s local governments, some local officials say consolidating services doesn’t always save money while others say their communities have been consolidating for years. Gov. Rick Snyder encouraged municipalities to work together to solve fiscal problems earlier this year. Consolidating local government services, such as police and fire, have been a reoccurring theme of his local reform efforts. He replaced a portion of the local revenue sharing system for municipalities with incentives for eligible communities to present a plan to consolidate services with other local governments. Municipalities have until January to submit their plan to be considered for funding.