LANSING — In order to address municipal retirement funding, the governor convened the Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force, who issued recommendations for a solution to this state-wide problem. The task force released its report this summer, which received support from all invested parties. Despite that, there have been conversations about instituting drastic reforms beyond those recommendations. In response, state Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren) issued the following statement:
“Every day our municipalities are working to provide critical services like public safety, professional police and firefighters, sanitation and transportation infrastructure, and social services. The added fiscal stress of unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities reflect the consequences of the problem, without addressing the cause. We can’t talk about local government finances without talking about the funding cuts that got us here.
“Over the last 15 years, local governments across our state have lost out on $8.1 billion due to sweeping cuts in revenue sharing. Therefore, local governments are forced to decrease spending while also trying to increase revenue. It comes down to kitchen table economics- they are going to be forced to cut spending somewhere. Any plan beyond the task force recommendations is state government overreach dictating what localities are allowed to cut and how to cut it. Instead of instituting real change by re-investing in revenue sharing and ensuring sustainable, long-term spending plans by implementing the Task Force report, there is a push to fundamentally alter the lives of those who have shown nothing but dedication and sacrifice to our communities. I will not stand for these unfounded attacks. Instead, I stand with thousands of firefighters, police officers, and municipal employees as they fight to keep the benefits they earned. Promises were made and promises need to be kept.”