Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) urges a yes vote on Proposal 1, which will appear on voter’s Nov. 3 general election ballots.
Proposal 1 would make changes to how revenue in the state's park-related funds can be spent, including making projects to renovate recreational facilities eligible for grants, allowing the parks endowment fund to be spent on park operations and maintenance, and removing the cap on the size of the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF).
Read the official language as it will appear on the ballot.
MFB Policy #81 Oil, Gas and Mineral Rights states, “We encourage MFB to explore alternatives distribution of Natural Resources Trust Fund. Consideration should be given to maintaining and improving parks roads and wildlife habitat on existing state lands.”
Related Michigan Farm News story: MFB urges ‘yes’ vote on Proposal 1, use of state and local park funds amendment
Written into the Michigan Constitution in 1985, Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund was created to assist in purchasing and developing public land for citizens, using the state’s oil and gas royalties.
In 2018, the House and Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution O and accompanying legislation, both seeking changes to NRTF and State Park Endowment Fund guidelines for added flexibility to how funds are spent and invested. Because the amendment involves a constitutional change, it requires a vote of the people through the statewide ballot process (Proposal 1).
Historically, the trust fund dollars have been narrowly focused on land acquisition rather than maintenance and improvements to existing state-owned properties. The current law stipulates that at least 75% of the interest and earnings of the NRTF must be spent on land acquisition, with no more than 25% spent on development and maintenance activities.
If passed, the amended law would instead direct the funds to:
It also expands the list of allowable expenditures to include “operations, maintenance, and capital improvements at Michigan state parks and for the acquisition of land or rights in land for Michigan state parks.”
Additional information on the NRTF is available on the Department of Natural Resources website.