It is up to us to protect the integrity of our parks, public lands and Great Outdoors by voting YES on Proposal 1. As Michiganders and people across the country have turned to the outdoors for physical and mental wellness during the pandemic, our outdoor spaces have become more important than ever. Protecting and improving these spaces is vital not only for the environment, but for our personal wellbeing. The outdoors are part of who we are in Michigan.
Michigan is home to more than 100 state parks, recreation areas, and scenic sites totaling over 305,000 acres of recreational land, providing thousands of acres for hunting and camping, hosting 25 million visitors annually. Michigan’s parks, iconic public lands, and natural resources are key to Michigan’s identity, culture, quality of life, and economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, consumers spend $26.6 billion in Michigan annually on outdoor recreation which generates 232,000 direct jobs, $7.5 billion in wages and salaries, and $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue.
What is the Natural Resources Trust Fund?
The Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) has been one of the most successful, non-partisan, citizen supported conservation policies in Michigan’s history. In 1984, Michigan residents passed a ballot proposal, which established the Michigan NRTF in the State Constitution.
The proposal directed money from sales of oil, gas, and mineral revenues on state lands to the NRTF. Since 1984, Michigan voters have passed two more ballot measures increasing the amount of funds the NRTF can take in and directing the funds towards land acquisition and outdoor recreation development. The concept of the NRTF was simple- in exchange for the sale and consumption of our natural resources, the state would conserve and protect land for future generations, while increasing access to all Michiganders.
Voting Yes for Proposal 1 is a Vote for Conservation
Voting yes on Proposal 1 is a win for all Michiganders, whether you’re an avid beach-goer, or frequent public parks, playgrounds and trails, Proposal 1 ensures your outdoor spaces are not only protected, but improved for future generations.
Proposal 1 Would:
– Remove the limit on the amount of oil, gas, and mineral revenues that can go into the NRTF in the future
– Speed the improvements of outdoor public recreation facilities by requiring at least 25% of disbursements be available for development, renovation and redevelopment of public facilities to match the 25% floor currently available for land acquisition
– Continue to provide funds for outdoor spaces without using tax dollars
Click here for a policy analysis of Proposal 1 prepared by the Michigan LCV Government Affairs Team.
Q: Under Prop 1, would there be a decrease in state land acquisition in order to prioritize the development of recreational facilities (trails, boat launches, parks, etc.)?
A: No. While the proposal does mandate a minimum of 25% of the NRTF to be spent on development, it does not change the amount that is required to be spent on land acquisition. Often, the NRTF Board does not exhaust all of its resources in a given year, and the current Trust Fund Board is dedicated to funding high quality land acquisition and conservation projects.
Q: What are the climate implications of this proposal?
A: Land acquisition is, and will continue to be, a critical component of combating climate change. This proposal doesn’t change the fact that high quality acquisition projects will be prioritized and funded by the Trust Fund Board, and doesn’t impact the board’s ability to do so. Michigan LCV is working with partners, the Trust Fund Board and the Michigan DNR to ensure that the preservation of nature, thriving and diverse ecosystems, climate change mitigation, and climate resiliency are more integrated and elevated in Michigan’s Public Land Strategy, DNR Programming, and the land the state prioritizes for acquisition.
Q: What would happen if Proposal 1 does not pass and the SPEF hits its cap?
A: In the short term, fewer outdoor recreational projects will be funded across the state, and at some undetermined point in the future the State Parks Endowment Fund (SPEF) will cap out at $800 million. When the SPEC reaches this cap, state oil and gas revenue would then be distributed to the state General Fund where lawmakers have discretion over where it is spent.
Q: Would Proposal 1 raise taxes or cost the state any money?
A: No. Proposal 1 would not lead to any net changes in state revenues. It would, however, change the way current, non-tax revenues are allocated.