Starting March 1, residents will pay $12 for Recreation Passport

Passport gives year-round access to state parks and other outdoor recreation opportunities, and an easy way to help protect natural resources for the next generation


If you told Michigan residents that for just $1 a month they could enjoy vehicle access to more than 100 state parks and recreation areas, 140 state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, historic sites, family-friendly events, hundreds of boating access sites and other outdoor spaces, most likely would jump at the chance. Starting March 1, they can.

Woman drinking hot chocolate at campfireThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that the regular Recreation Passport vehicle entry fee for residents will increase from $11 to $12 – the first Recreation Passport price increase since January 2013. All other resident Passport fees stay the same, including those for motorcycles, mopeds and commercial vehicles.

The change is due to a statutory provision to adjust the Recreation Passport fee based upon the Consumer Price Index as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That statutory requirement was put into law when the Recreation Passport funding model was created in 2010 to ensure the funding source keeps pace with inflation.DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said it isn’t widely known that Michigan state parks are largely self-supporting. The steady growth in Recreation Passport revenue has been a key part in helping the department tackle some high-priority areas.

a couple sitting next to the fire“Although we were not anticipating a $1 increase this year, the additional revenue will help fill in funding gaps,” Olson said. “We are continually working on challenges including rising wages, the ever-increasing cost of goods and services and $278 million worth of significant infrastructure repairs and projects.”

Approximately 93.5 percent of state parks funding is generated by user fees and royalty revenues:

  • Camping and lodging reservation fees provide 47 percent.
  • Recreation Passport sales offer 26 percent.
  • Gas and mineral royalty revenues provide 15 percent.
  • Concessions, shelter reservations and other revenue sources bring in another 5.5 percent.

The remaining funding – approximately 6.5 percent – is provided from miscellaneous sources (including general tax dollars).

RECREATION PASSPORT BACK STORY

group of young men building sandcastles on beachIn 2004, state parks were removed from the state’s general fund because it was believed that camping fees could sustain the then 99-park system. As a result, revenue generated by motor vehicle stickers and camping fees became even more critical.

The Citizens Advisory Committee for Michigan State Parks, created in 2005, was charged with finding a long-term funding solution that would 1) address the nearly $300 million backlog of infrastructure needs, and 2) ensure that Michiganders could affordably continue using the parks. The committee ultimately recommended the creation of the model linking motor vehicle registrations to the Recreation Passport.“Those early conversations and research done by the citizens committee and many DNR employees laid the foundation for today’s Recreation Passport,” Olson said. “These were important steps in the right direction.”

The next few years made it clear that the existing funding model could not keep the state parks and recreation system afloat. Work on the new Recreation Passport funding model began in earnest, supported by bipartisan cooperation in the state House and the Senate, and the Recreation Passport bill was signed into law in April 2010 and took effect six months later.

RECREATION PASSPORT RATIONALE, STRUCTURE

A group snowshoeing in Muskegon State ParkThe Recreation Passport model is based both on reducing the customer’s cost and tying the purchase of a park pass to the Secretary of State’s vehicle registration process. The change relied on the notion that more people would buy the new Recreation Passport than would purchase the existing motor vehicle permit because:

  • The Recreation Passport purchase option would be put in front of every vehicle owner (rather than just those who visited state parks and bought the motor vehicle permit there).
  • The Recreation Passport (then $10) cost significantly less than the motor vehicle permit ($24).

During the Recreation Passport’s first year, an additional $7 million was generated.

All revenue generated by Recreation Passport sales goes into a restricted fund that supports state park infrastructure and operations, a local grant program for community recreation agencies, state forest campgrounds and nonmotorized pathways and trails, cultural and historic resource restoration, and marketing and promotion.

NONRESIDENT RECREATION PASSPORT FEE

The Consumer Price Index change also signaled a one-dollar increase – from $33 to $34 – for nonresident Recreation Passport purchases, effective Jan. 1, 2020. All other passport fees will stay the same.

The start dates for the increase to both residents and nonresidents are staggered due to the time it takes to integrate changes tied to vehicle registration.

SEE WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU

a man riding a mountain bike on the DTE TrailView this 30-second video highlighting just a few of the many outdoor adventures you can enjoy with a Recreation Passport.
Learn more about how the Recreation Passport supports, protects and provides easy, affordable access to the great outdoors at Michigan.gov/RecreationPassport.

https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79137_79770_79780-517132–,00.html 

IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2020

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019,
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the rate for 2019, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate decreased one half of a cent for business travel driven and three cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2019. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details, see Rev. Proc. 2019-46.

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than five vehicles used simultaneously. These and other limitations are described in section 4.05 of Rev. Proc. 2019-46.

Notice 2020-05, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.  In addition, for employer-provided vehicles, the Notice provides the maximum fair market value of automobiles first made available to employees for personal use in calendar year 2020 for which employers may use the fleet-average valuation rule in § 1.61-21(d)(5)(v) or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule in § 1.61-21(e).

 

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-standard-mileage-rates-for-2020

EGLE offers grants of up to $70,000 for EV fast chargers

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently announced that public or private organizations can apply for up to $70,000 each toward the cost of installing direct current fast chargers for electric vehicles under a request for proposals (RFP).

The rebates are aimed at encouraging the buildout of an EV fast charging network for automobiles and light-duty vehicles across the state. The goal of building out the state’s EV charging network is to improve air quality, reduce vehicle emissions, and protect public health and the environment.

The grants are part of the more than $9.7 million allocated to Michigan from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement. Successful applicants can use their allocation for charger site preparation, equipment installation, networking fees, and signage. Applicants must be enrolled in a utility-sponsored charging program in the area where a charger is proposed to be installed. The EGLE grants are expected to cover up to a third of the total project costs with the host site and utility each also contributing a third.

“We’re seeing fundamental changes in the transportation sector in Michigan with the move toward electric vehicles,” said Jack Schinderle, director of EGLE’s Materials Management Division. “Our grants – along with funding from our utility partners and host sites – will continue to expand the support network needed for a seamless EV user experience across our state.”

Any public or private organization in Michigan, or those outside of Michigan that have demonstrated significant experience in installing and maintaining EV charging stations and have a significant presence in Michigan, are eligible to apply for grants. The RFP lists 75 eligible locations for chargers and proposed projects must be within five miles of those locations.

Grant applications must be submitted online. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until all the money has been allocated. For further information, contact the Environmental Assistance Center at 800-662-9278 or check the Michigan Fuel Transformation website for more information.

MADA Thanks Our Outgoing President & Welcomes A New Slate of Officers

With 2019 now officially behind us, MADA would like to thank Mr. Jeff Williams for serving as our association president. He put in a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to support the interests of our members in Michigan. We appreciate his commitment to dealers throughout Michigan and look forward to working with him in his final year on the executive committee, as he transitions into his role as MADA’s immediate past president.

We welcome in the new 2020 MADA officers, who were announced and approved during the MADA Annual Meeting in December. We thank them for agreeing to serve this year.

  • President Steven Brown
  • First Vice President William Perkins
  • Second Vice President Cliff Cicotte
  • Immediate Past President Jeff Williams
Each year this group of dealers works closely with the MADA board and association staff to guide and advise on issues important to dealers. They communicate with their colleagues around the state, speak to government officials when regulatory topics require dealer involvement, help guide association policies and procedures, and stay informed on many other topics and issues. The support and involvement of these individuals is critical to the success of our association and helps us maintain a positive and prominent presence in Michigan.

Secretary of State holiday closures for 2020

Dealers who utilize SOS branch offices for business or personal use may want to make note of these 2020 holiday closures.

 

  • New Year’s Day, January 1.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 20.
  • President’s Day, February 17.
  • Memorial Day, May 25.
  • Independence Day, July 3.
  • Labor Day, September 7.
  • General Election Day, November 3
  • Veterans Day, November 11.
  • Thanksgiving Day, November 26 and 27.
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, December 24 and 25.
  • New Year’s Eve, December 31.

Jan. 15 Webinar: Steps to Make Dealership Websites Accessible

People with a variety of auditory, visual, physical and/or cognitive disabilities use assistive technology (e.g., screen readers, text enlargement tools, programs to control computers by voice) to enable computer use. According to the U.S. Department of Justice the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to public-facing commercial websites; now is a good time for franchised dealerships to evaluate their websites for accessibility compliance.
If a dealership’s website is not compatible with assistive technologies, disabled customers may not be able to shop for vehicles, make online parts purchases or learn more about what the dealership offers them. Web accessibility also boosts a dealership’s search engine optimization efforts and improves organic search rankings. In addition to losing potential sales, dealerships risk facing legal action. To date, plaintiffs across the country have asserted that websites for businesses, including dealerships, do not provide equal access under the ADA for persons with disabilities. These dealerships have often settled to prevent expensive litigation, making a commitment to improve website accessibility.
Most public-facing dealership websites involve vehicle OEMS, website developers, vendors and other content providers; addressing dealership website accessibility is complex because each of these entities exerts control over, has responsibility for, manages and/or provides content to dealership websites.
More information from NADA:

Melting Away Winter Myths

woman blowing into tissue while in the snow

There are plenty of seemingly well-known facts that can make you want to give winter the cold shoulder. You’ve probably heard about the various phenomena in winter that can cause illness or other health problems and accepted them as fact. In reality, a lot of the common “facts” about winter are more fiction than truth.

Here are some of the top myths about winter busted and some of the lesser-known facts:

Cold weather makes you sick: MYTH
While the incidences of colds do rise in the winter months, the weather is not to blame. Experts believe the rise is due to the increase in time spent indoors, resulting in germ exchanges.

Going outside with wet hair can cause a cold: MYTH
Wet hair might cause you to be cold while you’re outside and while you’re warming up after, but the only thing that causes a cold is bacteria.

Sunscreen isn’t necessary in the winter: MYTH
Sunscreen is needed year-round. Not only does it protect against sunburn, but it keeps your skin healthy by blocking UV rays. Even though you may not be tanning in the winter, you are still subjected to the negative impacts of being in the sun.

The weather affects your mood: FACT
You may notice that people seem happier in the summer. This is because the instances of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) rise in the winter. The lack of sunlight contributes to this condition.

Washing your hands can prevent illness: FACT
Most viruses are spread by germs that have been transmitted to hands. Simply washing your hands effectively can dramatically reduce the risk of illness.

You can get the flu from the flu shot: MYTH
The flu vaccine does not contain any live viruses and therefore can’t cause the flu. Some people may experience flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine as the body develops an immune response to it. The symptoms, while undesirable, are not the flu and are far less severe than those of the flu.

You can still get allergies in the winter: FACT
While we may not notice allergies in these months, allergies can be present all year. The cause of allergies changes with the seasons. While spring allergies may be pollen-related, winter allergies might be due to indoor allergens lurking in the air.

There’s no need to be frozen with fear, just make sure you’re keeping yourself safe year-round.

What are some things you’ve heard about winter that you thought were true but recently learned were myths?

You may also like:

 

This article was originally published on www.ahealthiermichigan.org, a website sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  Blue Cross and MADA are your trusted partners in building a healthier business and workforce.

Photo credit: AntonioGuillem

Register today for the MADA Annual Meeting!

The 2019 MADA Annual Meeting is your opportunity to get insight into the dealership of tomorrow. This year’s speakers will provide you with an industry forecast, information and guidance to better assist customers as needs and expectations evolve, and a regulatory update to keep your business operations running smooth. Click here for registration and keep reading to learn more about the speakers and sessions.
VISA and MC Surcharges (11:00 am)
Credit card surcharges are taking a big bite out of dealers’ profits. This session will cover many of the issues dealers are questioning about surcharges. Can businesses pass these processing fees on to the customer? Does it make good business sense to pass the cost along? And if so, how does a dealer go about implementing the change?

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (11:30 am)

We are honored to be joined by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. There have been a lot of changes and regulations handed down from her department recently. While some of these changes were in process before she took office, a new leader has new ideas for the industries she oversees. This will be a great opportunity to hear Secretary Benson’s plans moving forward and offer your own insights and feedback on Michigan’s franchised dealer industry.

Lunch, Board Meeting & Annual Meeting (12:15 pm) 
Get an update on the association, regulatory topics and legislation affecting you and your business. We will also present a brief session on The Sales Process of Today, and How Can MADA Help? This session will get your input on dealership training. What are dealers currently doing, and how can MADA support your in-house training programs as employee and customer needs evolve?
 
Electric Vehicles…the Follow Up (1:00 pm)
Michigan’s EV economy is growing. Consumers are interested in learning about EVs and there is an opportunity for dealers to become a bigger resource for information. DTE and Consumers Energy will explain how dealers can support EV customers during and after the purchase. Dealers will be provided information and handouts about different levels of charging stations, charging station maps and rebates for in-home systems. This information can then be provided to customers considering an electric vehicle.
 
Keynote Speaker, Glenn Mercer
Dealership of Tomorrow: 2019 Update (1:30 pm)
In 2016 NADA commissioned research on how the American new-car franchised dealership system is evolving, looking at trends ranging from the rate of consolidation of ownership to the potential impact of electric cars, with a target forecast date of 2025. The final report was released in 2017, and was well received. As the world continues to evolve, NADA asked for an update of the report, and a corresponding extension of the forecast period, to the late 2020s. The final report will be presented at NADA 2020 in Las Vegas, but MADA is offering members the opportunity to see the results in advance, in a detailed presentation by the lead researcher, Glenn Mercer.
 
Networking Reception (3:00 pm)

Nominee for 2020 TIME Dealer of the Year: Colleen Chapleski

MADA is pleased to announce that Colleen Chapleski, dealer at Dean Arbour Ford of Tawas, is MADA’s nominee for the 2020 TIME Dealer of the Year award.

Ms. Chapleski, MADA’s 2018 MADA, is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 103rd annual NADA Show in Las Vegas on February 15, 2020. The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service.

Ms. Chapleski’s father instilled in her a passion for giving back. “The example my dad set for me when I started in the automotive industry is something that has led me to get involved in the community,” she said. “He made it a priority to make a positive impact in the areas where our dealerships are located.”

To that end, she recently created the Dean Arbour Memorial Scholarship, which will honor her father and help local students further their educations. She also supports the Tawas Area Sports Boosters and Ford Drive 4 UR School, a program that generates money for local schools when test drives are taken.

MADA congratulates Ms. Chapleski on this recognition and applauds her for her commitment to the automotive industry and her community.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to Attend MADA Annual Meeting

We are honored to have Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson join us during the 2019 MADA Annual Meeting. She will bring us up to date on her priorities for 2020, plus discuss upcoming improvements for Michigan residents and dealership operations. This is your opportunity to hear Secretary Benson’s plans moving forward and offer your own insights and feedback on Michigan’s franchised dealer industry. We hope you make plans to attend!
MADA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Kellogg Center in East Lansing
More information will be mailed to dealerships soon!