The following is an opinion from House Democratic Whip and state Representative Robert L. Kosowski (D-Westland).

Recently, a piece of legislation has been introduced that would repeal the Downtown Development Authority Act (DDA). The DDA was passed in 1975 by the state of Michigan as a way to give municipalities an economic development tool they could use to rebuild and reposition their downtowns, increase taxable values and encourage private investment.

In the past 40 years since its enactment, many cities and communities throughout our state have enacted their own local versions of the DDA. Many of these DDAs are known for both large and small infrastructure projects, but regardless of the size of the task, one thing is clear: The DDA is an integral part of each of our local municipalities’ ever-changing downtown landscape. Downtowns are often the heart of communities throughout Michigan, and frequently host a multitude of resources for our citizens.

It is for these reasons that I am deeply disappointed in my colleagues that have chosen to sponsor House Bill 5524, which would repeal this important act. Throughout the years, our cities have taken a beating through property tax cuts and revenue sharing shifts.  This has been the one comon denominator since the DDA has been enacted – money keeps being diverted from our local municipalities and channeled to other sources. This has to stop. Our cities are the heart of Michigan — they are where many families live and grow, and we need to ensure they have the funding necessary to provide the best services possible to our residents.

Despite the fact that I am in the minority party, I am currently working on legislation that deals with statutory revenue sharing and makes sure our cities are able to collect more funding that can be placed into important services. It is my hope that this legislation will be introduced next week, and swiftly make its way through the legislative process.

Should House Bill 5524 come before the House floor for a chamber vote, I have confidence that other representatives will realize how detrimental this legislation would be to our cities should it be enacted. I plan to oppose this legislation whole-heartedly, and will encourage my colleagues to do the same.