During an early morning hearing today, the House Local Government committee deferred action on comprehensive retiree health care reform (OPEB) until next term. The only bill in the original 13-bill package to see any further debate was House Bill 6075, a bill focused on reporting/transparency of retiree pension and health liabilities. This bill was reported from the committee and awaits action on the House floor.
The Michigan Municipal League has long cited the need to address the high cost of retirement health insurance while maintaining options for health care for municipal retirees. Although the League offered conceptual support for this proposal, the complexity of the issue makes it difficult to thoroughly consider during the lame duck environment. For that reason, the League requested the House delay action on this proposal and allow for the opportunity to work with Gov. Rick Snyder, the incoming Legislature, and all of the relevant interest groups in the next term.
Over the course of the current legislative term, the League has pursued a comprehensive policy agenda aimed at reforming Michigan’s broken municipal finance system. The agenda involves reform to cost drivers, restoration and diversity of revenue options, and the reviewing the structure of local government. Thoughtful OPEB reform remains an important component of the League’s municipal finance initiative, which we will continue to pursue in the new year.
Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 and [email protected].