Downtown Champion Challenge
The MDA educates community members and State and Federal legislators about the importance of a strong downtown.
Contribute to the MDA Legislative and Advocacy Fund
Here's What you Can Do:
- Send an additional sum of $100 of more behalf of your organization, specifically for the Legislative Advocacy fund;
- Businesses, residents, property owners, and shoppers can support their downtowns by donating $25, $50, $100, $250 or more! Every donation makes a champion, and the winner will be DOWNTOWNS across Michigan;
- Inform your Board, friends, volunteers, and State and local elected officials about the positive programs and initiatives supported by your Downtown. We not only need monetary support, but we need champions of Downtowns to inform State Representatives, Senators, and the Governor of Michigan about the importance of strong downtowns.
What the MDA Does:
- Educates members at workshops and conferences, and through email notifications with regular Legislative Updates;
- Works closely with partners to keep informed about issues in the legislature that could effect downtowns;
- Sends MDA representatives to Lansing and Washington, D.C. to meet with Legislators and advocate for downtowns.
Your Support Matters:
In 2017, using Legislative and Advocacy Funds, the MDA hired Capital Services and worked with our partners at the Michigan Municipal League and Senator Ken Horn to help pass PA 57. Rather than cutting downtown funding sources, as originally discussed, PA 57 consolidated all the TIF-eligible economic development tools, except brownfields, into one law. This new law added deadlines and Treasury requirements, along with some teeth to penalties for any district that doesn't report by those deadlines. The result of MDA's efforts was a law that saved DDAs and allowed downtowns to continue to use Tax Increment Financing as an economic tool.
Can DDA's legally contribute to MDA advocacy efforts?
Yes. According to a Michigan Supreme Court case Hays v City of Kalamazoo, 316 Mich 443, (1947) and Michigan Attorney General (AG) Opinion #7080 (4/17/10) both established that publicly funded organizations can to pay membership dues or other assessments to another public organization that engages in public policy advocacy, including lobbying on legislation and activities to support or to oppose to ballot initiatives.
1. Many individual municipalities, as well as membership organizations funded by local units of government, engage in lobbying. These include Michigan Municipal League (MML), the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC), and the Michigan Township Association (MTA). Many have staff engaged in these activities, as well as contracts with governmental consulting firms. Michigan law requires entities that spend money on lobbying to register and to file biannual reports on lobbying expenditures. All financial reports for lobbying expenditures can be viewed online at: http://miboecfr.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/cfr/lobby_srch.cgi
2. MDAs expenditures on lobbying are only a fraction of its advocacy spending. Most of the services the MDA provides do NOT fall under the definition of lobbying. For example - strategic planning, relationship building, education and outreach, organizing members, developing testimony and other educational materials on a community's behalf, even organizing a visit by a lawmaker to a DDA, are not necessarily lobbying activities. When a group communicates a request to a legislator to vote yes, vote no, or amend a specific piece of legislation or budget - that is generally considered lobbying.