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Advocacy Blue Arrows

Prosperity Agenda
Public Policies for a Prosperous Michigan
Page 5

Prosperity Policy: The federal government can play an important role in the revitalization of our communities.

The Recovery Act passed by Congress and President Obama is sending billions of dollars to states to create jobs by shoring up infrastructure and other critical programs. The intent of this funding is to stop the downward spiral of the U.S. economy and help state and local economies.

Yet, funding from the Recovery Act has been subject to current federal regulatory and funding mechanisms. These mechanisms do not always work in the best interest of local communities.

Local communities are on the front lines of providing essential services to citizens. These services work to create vibrant places and establish a high quality of life. As the Congress and the President discuss programs impacting transportation, infrastructure, economic development, telecommunications, housing, the environment and energy, they must not only provide adequate funding but propose policies that will assist local governments directly, so they can leverage all available resources to create strong, vibrant communities.

The League will work with the Michigan Congressional Delegation, federal administration, Michigan Legislature, and Governor Synder to ensure funding benefits local communities.

Prosperity Policy: Give communities all available tools to manage costs and control revenues

Local governments need all available tools to efficiently and effectively manage revenues and costs. Controlling costs and managing revenues are indicators of well-run communities, where prosperity can occur. Labor costs consume the largest portion of local government budgets. And the biggest labor costs for local governments are police and firefighter wages. As currently written, Public Act 312 of 1969 does not foster local government efficiency. Here is how it works: When local officials and police or firefighter unions reach a collective bargaining impasse, the state appoints an arbitrator to hear from local elected officials and local union officials and then decide what wages and benefits will go to police and firefighters. The arbitrator does not have to base the decision on whether a local community can afford to pay the settlement, local community finances, staffing, or other priorities a community may have. The arbitrator simply imposes a decision that is mandatory for officials—and taxpayer dollars—to follow, regardless of how it affects the community as a whole. The result is often fewer dollars for new police officers and firefighters or other key community services. It can also result in layoffs of workers—including younger police officers and firefighters, who are sent packing so more senior workers can get better pay and benefits. For more information about PA 312, please visit

Policy Action: Guidelines need to be created in PA 312 to enable local governments to appropriately manage their revenues and costs, and to allow them to put more police officers and firefighters on the street by effectively distributing the limited funds available.


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