Michigan Proposal 1, the Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment, is on the November ballot this year as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, so what exactly would the measure do?
Proposal 1 would make changes to how revenue in the state's park-related funds (Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) and Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund (MSPEF)) can be spent. Funding for the MNRTF and SPEF is provided by revenue derived from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned oil, gas and mineral rights. Through these funds, Michigan’s oil and gas industry has contributed over $1.1 billion to Michigan’s state & local parks, waterways, trails and nature preserves throughout all 83 counties.
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) provides grants to local governments for acquiring land for recreational use, environmental conservation, and scenic importance and for developing recreational facilities. The ballot measure would make projects to renovate and redevelop existing recreational facilities eligible for grants. The ballot measure would require that a minimum of 25 percent of grant funding be spent on developing, renovating, and redeveloping recreational facilities each year. As of 2018, a maximum of 25 percent of grant funding could be spent on developing facilities. The ballot measure would continue to provide that a minimum of 25 percent of grant funding be spent on acquiring land each year.
The Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund (MSPEF) provides funding for the state park system. As of 2018, the fund could be spent on the acquisition of land and capital improvements. The ballot measure would allow the fund to be spent on park operations and maintenance. The ballot measure would require that at least 20 percent of the annual expenditures be spent on capital improvements.
Proposal 1 would also remove the MNRTF's cap of $500 million in principal and allow the trust fund to begin receiving revenue again after the MSPEF reaches $800 million in principal. The MNRTF reached the cap in 2011. Removal of the cap would allow the MNRTF to grow faster and increase funding for grants.
This would not be the first time the cap was adjusted, in 1984, the MNRTF had a cap of $200 million in principal from royalties. Voters approved ballot measures to increase the cap to $400 million in 1994 and to $500 million in 2002. In 2011, the MNRTF reached the cap of $500 million
The Michigan Oil and Gas Association supports the ballot measure. At this time, the measure has broad support and no organized opposition.