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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Feb. 10, 2010

Contact: Matt Bach
Dir. of Communications
(734) 669-6317 or mbach@mml.org

Michigan Senate Passes Meaningless “Reforms”

PA 312 and UCA Bills Do Nothing to Protect Taxpayers, Police and Fire Jobs or Local Government Budgets

LANSING, Mich. —So-called “reform” legislation passed today by the Michigan Senate does nothing to benefit taxpayers, protect police and fire jobs, or help local governments control their budgets, the Michigan Municipal League (MML) said.

“Frankly, the bills passed by the Senate are hollow and meaningless and fail to provide the common sense fiscal management tools needed by local governments in these challenging times,” said MML Director of State Affairs Summer Minnick. “They will neither help Michigan taxpayers nor protect police and fire jobs. We had hoped for real reform from the Michigan Senate, but that did not happen.”

The Senate passed Senate Bills 1072, 1085 and 1086, which amend Public Act 312 and the Urban Cooperation Act (UCA). PA 312 forces local governments into binding arbitration with police and firefighters when they reach a contract impasse. As a result, local governments are often forced to layoff officers and firefighters and cut other programs and services to pay unaffordable higher wages to those with more seniority. Michigan has lost more than 2,400 firefighters and 2,000 police officers since 2001, largely because of revenue sharing cuts, declining property values and PA 312. The UCA, as currently written, makes it hard for local governments to share services that could result in significant cost savings for local taxpayers.

“Unfortunately, these bills do not help local governments control their budgets, nor do they remove barriers to consolidation,” said Jeff Jenks, Michigan Municipal League President and Huntington Woods Mayor Pro Tem. “They do not represent real reform, and their passage may hinder any potential of real reform in the future.”

Added Minnick: “Unfortunately, the Senate will now claim it passed reforms, and nothing could be further from the truth. These watered down bills do nothing to benefit taxpayers or lower the cost of government.”

The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. For more information, visit www.mml.org.

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