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For Immediate Release:
Legislature, Governor Urged to Restore Revenue Sharing Cuts to Protect Public Safety across Michigan
Michigan Citizens Should Know Legislature is behind Public Safety Cuts
LANSING, Mich. – Public Safety in Michigan will be at greater risk unless the Legislature and governor restore, deep revenue sharing cuts approved by state lawmakers for Fiscal Year 2010, police officers, firefighters, mayors, township and other local government officials warned in a rally today at the Capitol.
Participants at the “Rally for Public Safety” vowed to return to their local communities and let citizens know that revenue sharing cuts approved by the Legislature will jeopardize their public safety.
“I am telling state lawmakers right now that the citizens of Michigan will know our public safety is jeopardized because revenue sharing cuts have forced the layoffs of thousands of police officers and firefighters across our state,” said Michigan Municipal League President Jeff Jenks, Huntington Woods mayor pro tem. “Lansing keeps telling us we have to live within our means. Well, these cuts go beyond living within our means. They are just plain mean, and dangerous to public safety in Michigan.”
Over the past eight years, the Legislature has slashed revenue sharing by more than $3 billion, which has resulted in the layoffs of thousands of more than 1,800 police officers and 2,400 firefighters. The FY 2010 state budget passed by the Legislature slashes revenue sharing by another 19 percent; locals stand to lose more than $100 million in this budget.
“The revenue sharing cuts approved by the Legislature are clearly dangerous to public safety in Michigan," said East Lansing Police Chief Thomas Wibert. "The Legislature must raise the revenues to restore the funds. If they fail to do so, the day will come when the cuts-only strategy of the Legislature will make it impossible for us on the front lines of public safety to handle an emergency.”
In addition to threatening public safety, the revenue sharing cuts in the FY 2010 state budget will push some communities already in precarious financial shape toward insolvency, and threaten such basic local services as water and sewer systems, parks, and roads and bridges.
Troy Councilmember Mary Kerwin said revenue sharing cuts are bleeding local government budgets and diminishing the quality of life across the state.
“People do not want to live and companies do not want to locate in communities that cannot provide for public safety, adequate roads and bridges, and sewer systems and other essential services,” Kerwin said.
“We are calling on all state lawmakers to stand up for public safety for every man, woman, child and business for this state,” said Norton Shores Fire Department Chief Dave Purchase, who is also Western Regional Director and Legislative Liaison for the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs. “The state must dedicate any additional revenues to restore all of the cuts made to public safety in this budget.”
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said the revenue sharing cuts in the FY 2010 state budget are not acceptable and will crush Michigan communities.
“If the revenue sharing cuts approved by the Legislature for Fiscal year 2010 stand, they will endanger the health, public safety and welfare of Michigan citizens across the state,” Bernero said. “And they will likely push some local governments into insolvency.”
John Daher, Lansing Charter Township supervisor, said decisions being made in Michigan Legislature are a threat to the safety of all communities in Michigan, and constituents will know where the blame lies when their communities are threatened.
“Constituents should know that police and fire layoffs and communities that are pushed into insolvency are a direct result of the decisions made by this Legislature,” said Daher.
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.