The Legislature must stop voting to slash revenue sharing — cuts that are endangering the health, public safety and welfare of Michigan citizens.
The Legislature has cut revenue sharing to local governments by $4 billion in the last 10 years and plans more major cuts in the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 state budget.
Since revenue sharing cuts began in 2001, Michigan has lost more than 2,000 police officers and nearly 2,400 firefighters. Fewer officers on the streets endangers public safety and local economies and is devastating to the state.
People do not want to live (and companies do not want to locate) in communities that cannot provide public safety, adequate roads and bridges, sewer systems and other essential services. Revenue sharing cuts are bleeding local government budgets and diminishing the quality of life across the state.
At the same time the Legislature is cutting revenue sharing, the state collected billions of dollars in emergency “stimulus” funds from the federal government. The funds were appropriated, in part, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
The state kept almost all of the ARRA funds, even though federal law specifically stated that the funds were supposed to be used to relieve fiscal stress in local governments too. So at the same time the state is cutting revenue sharing, it also kept funds the ARRA says is supposed to go to local governments to avoid essential service reductions and local tax increases.
It’s time for the Legislature and governor stop making cuts that damage local communities and their ability to create the kinds of safe, vibrant places that attract jobs and employers and keep our college students home.