Michigan lawmakers are gearing up for a new state budget that will likely continue to leave local municipal services at risk and set our children and grandchildren up to pay for our state’s unfunded liabilities. This burden will weigh heavy on Michigan taxpayers while legislators celebrate up north at the Mackinac Policy Conference.
Although the Legislature has addressed the unfunded liability issue in the past, Michigan’s local governments still have an estimated pension and retiree healthcare debt in the billions. This debt drains money away from essential services such as police and fire protection, and road improvements. And poor municipal services put Michigan at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to competing for good-paying jobs and growing our economy.
Just last month, the city of Highland Park filed for bankruptcy, which means we can expect cuts to city workers’ pensions. We’ve experienced this before when the City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, which was ordered to fulfill pension payments this year.
In order to prevent crushing future burdens for our kids and to make us an economically sound state, the Legislature and governor must continue to follow through on unfunded liabilities and protect the hard-working men and women who have underfunded pensions across our state. These are the first responders: police officers and firefighters, as well as teachers who serve Michigan every day.
If lawmakers don’t do the responsible thing and work to pay off unfunded liabilities, the responsibility is going to fall on the plates of our children and grandchildren. We’ll leave them in deep waters. We can’t let that happen. Contact your local legislator today and tell them we need to prioritize and support plans to reduce unfunded liability debt.