Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
T he Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) serves as the state’s primary business regulatory agency. The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 recommends total ongoing funding of $545.6 million, of which $24.2 million is general fund.
Highlights of Governor’s Budget Recommendation
• By focusing on career technology and skilled trades, the governor is reinventing how the state delivers workforce training and job readiness services. The governor’s budget adds $15.6 million in new job training investments, which includes $10 million to increase the skilled trades training program to a total of $20 million. Other career technology and skilled trade investments include programs targeting job training to disadvantaged youth, advanced technical training partnerships with employers, job readiness for new Americans, and expanded re-employment opportunities for unemployed workers.
• The governor is also committed to ensuring the Unemployment Service Agency continues to provide effective customer service for those seeking re-employment by using $18 million in restricted revenues on an ongoing basis to augment federal support for the system.
• The governor’s budget supports an additional $1.3 million in new fee revenue to provide for health care facility inspections. This comprehensive proposal also includes reforms that shift inspections to a uniform triennial cycle, and reduce the regulatory burden on providers by expanding waiver options for those with a record of compliance. These reforms will allow the department to focus attention on poorperforming providers and be more responsive to complaints. The majority of retail liquor license fees have not been adjusted since 1976. The governor proposes to increase fees to support local enforcement, improve customer service and operational efficiencies, and enhance substance abuse programs. Consistent with statute, the additional $6.2 million raised will be shared with local law enforcement (55 percent), the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (41.5 percent), and substance abuse programs in the Department of Community Health (3.5 percent). The additional resources will allow the Commission to improve customer service with one-time information technology upgrades and other service-oriented investments. After three years, the increase will be reduced by half to reflect support for the ongoing costs of regulation and enforcement.
• In December, Governor Snyder issued Executive Order 2014–12 creating the Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED) and within it a new Talent Investment Agency. The Unemployment Insurance Agency, currently housed in LARA, will be a key component of the new Talent Investment Agency, merging re-employment and training programs to enhance the connection between talent and in-demand jobs. The Executive Budget will be revised after the Executive Order is effective on March 15, 2015 to reflect the new department.