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    Senate Bill 1015 would amend the current Land Bank Fast Track Act, specifically sections 2 and 4. The Land Bank Fast Track Act presently allows state and local governments "to assemble or dispose of public property...to promote economic growth". Senate Bill 1015 would add the promotion of urban agriculture to the current act. The bill would prohibit the Land Bank Fast Track Authority from procuring profits related to agricultural operations that involve raising livestock and poultry.

     

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    Urban agriculture is one of the ideas being implemented in order to rejuvenate failing cities. Many properties in Flint and Detroit are being demolished and turned back over to nature in order to condense the urban sprawl of such cities; relocating residence to thriving neighborhoods in order to shrink cities. By definition urban agriculture is "the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in, or around (peri-urban), a village, town or city. " Urban agriculture has many benefits; social, economic, as well as environmental. Economically, urban agriculture practices can add to household income, it can increase employment and frees cash from food items to be used for non food items. Socially, the clear benefit is nutrition and increased health. Environmentally, urban agriculture helps to green the cities implementing them, it reduces high energy cost by eliminating the transportation of food also making it more affordable for those of lower income to eat healthy.

    The passage of this bill along with SB 978, 979, 1016, and 1017 will not only help create a redevelopment authority it will give cities the opportunity to move in a new direction. Faltering cities will be able to turn blighted neighborhoods and land into areas that will have new purpose and will contribute to the community; whether this is through urban agriculture, community centers or new industries.

    The fiscal impact of these bills is relatively unknown. It depends on the amount of parcels affected. Fiscal analysis David Zin presumes that foreclosed properties would return to the tax rolls more quickly under the new bills, decreasing the time the that property does not contribute revenue to the units of government. Once the property does return to the tax rolls, however, the tax would be divided equally among the local government unit as well as the redevelopment authority. The money that the redevelopment authority would receive would go towards funding the purpose of the redevelopment authority, including constructing, developing and improving communities, making loans to aid redevelopment and helping to finance relocation services to individuals and business whom sold their properties to redevelopment authority.

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    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Jeffrey Astrein

    Jeffrey Astrein is Agriculture correspondent and fellow for the Michigan Policy Network. Jeffrey is a senior at Michigan State University.