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Wed Jul 13, 2016, 10:23 PM

Battle in Lansing over community colleges expanding 4-year degrees

LANSING — In the long-running policy battle about whether community colleges in Michigan should be allowed to offer bachelor’s degrees, some state lawmakers opposed to the idea are willing to let them do it — if they’ll agree to forfeit revenue they collect from local property taxes.

It’s an ultimatum that advocates for expanded degree choices for two-year schools say will stop the effort dead, because the colleges rely on property taxes for roughly a third of their operating revenue on average.

A two-bill package introduced in the House by Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, would prevent community colleges from levying property taxes if they create bachelor’s degree programs, with the exception of four programs the Legislature approved in 2012.

Farrington’s bills are in direct response to a separate bill that has stalled in the Senate for more than a year. Introduced by Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, the legislation would allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in ski area management, allied health, information technology, manufacturing technology and nursing. They would be allowed in addition to the four programs greenlighted in 2012 — cement technology, energy production technology, maritime technology and culinary arts.

Read more: http://bridgemi.com/2016/07/battle-in-lansing-over-community-colleges-expanding-4-year-degrees/

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