Tag Archive for Pensions

The Forest For The Trees

Grand Traverse County Commissioners don't even understand why the county is broke.

We all like nice things.

Sometimes we have to choose which nice things we want however.  As a community, the pie is only big enough for so many parks, so many police officers, and some of the other necessary ‘amenities’ to make it all happen.  One thing it requires is choices and priorities.

Attending a board of commissioners meeting tonight, one participant noted that our Northern Michigan county had the worst pension funding situation in the state.  While probably true, the rest of the commissioners in their own ways acknowledged it, and then moved on to prove in no uncertain terms why it is unlikely to change.

In an effort to raise money to cover the ballooning pension liabilities, Grand Traverse County Commissioners voted 6-1 to sell a county property for nearly $100K less than the highest bid for the property.   They were convinced by a number of hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers, that letting the property in question into ‘private’ hands would make our slice of heaven intolerable.

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It’s About Time already

Michigan lawmakers look to plug the big gaping hole in government liability.

1997 was actually a good year for Michigan.

It could have been better however.  It was the year that Governor Engler signed off on pension plan changes for state employees, but not including the school retirement system. For those it did affect, It adjusted the way in which pensions are funded from defined outcomes at high risk for taxpayers, to defined contribution with real ownership to the recipients.

It also saved the state billions in the last 2 decades. 

The change to the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System saved the state an estimated $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion in unfunded state employee pension liability from 1997 to 2010, according to the report, authored by public pension expert Rick Dreyfuss.

Seven years later we are still benefiting (no pun intended) from this change.

This 20 year anniversary could well produce the finishing touch and allow Michigan to move toward a predictable liability scenario for good.  School employees somehow remained outside of the course correction in 1997.  House Bill 4647 and Senate Bill 0401 being nearly identical, provide the mechanism for the fix to that problem that has been long overdue.

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Speaking Of Headlee

Asked often enough about government: "Is this even legal? "

pig-collieOne might question the way in which money can be transferred to ‘cover’ other expenses.

We know that pensions are untouchable, but in times of financial distress, some governmental entities are finding out that health care is NOT off the table.  However, others are developing more abusive ways to maintain the ‘status-quo.’  From Bloomfield TWP:

Bloomfield Township taxpayers have been receiving higher and higher bills for water and sewer each year.  Yet in a controversial 5-2 vote in late 2015, Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees transferred  $2.76 million of the fees collected from the citizens water/sewer bills and deposited those millions into a Retired Employees Health Care Trust.

Can you say “turning a fee into a tax?”

Is there any wonder why some might say that creativity in government can be a bad thing?

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The City Of Perpetual Gifting

Detroit Public Schools continues the fiscal drain on Michigan Taxpayers.

mich-holeThe gravity exerted by SE Michigan is nothing short of incredible.

Bailouts of Arts, Pensions, Water systems, and of course the cherry on the sundae, school debt.  From today’s Cap-Con, Summarized here:

“Various bailout plans are currently under discussion in Lansing as an alternative to entering federal bankruptcy court. One plan pitched by Gov. Rick Snyder comes with a $710 million price tag.”

Don’t make any plans with that mattress money folks.



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AFP Mobilizes Grassroots to Oppose Detroit Bailout, Pension Deal

AFP Grassroots Gear Up to Fight Detroit Bailout Deal

horizontal-black_13 The Michigan chapter of Americans for Prosperity is launching an effort to contact 90,000 grassroots activists across Michigan and engage them in opposition to the latest iteration of the Detroit bailout deal

The group plans to spend significantly in order to hold state legislators accountable if they choose to support an appropriation of Michigan taxpayer dollars for this deal. Checkout StrongerDetroit.com for more information on the bailout and AFP’s grassroots efforts.  Scott Hagerstrom says:

“Detroit receives more of our hard-earned tax dollars than any other municipality in Michigan.  It should be clear to all of us that throwing more good money after bad can’t save Detroit from big-government policies that constrict private growth and rob taxpayers of wealth. Allowing the City of Detroit to sit on $3 billion in assets while pensioners see cuts is not acceptable. Lawmakers in Lansing need to know that 90,000 Michigan activists are watching closely as they consider appropriating more money to throw down the drain.”

And we agree.

Detroit tries to have its cake and eat OURS too, and our GOP legislators could very well sell us down that river.

Go get em AFP.

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Bankrupt – Detroit, Bailouts

“Decisions have consequences” as told in the newest movie by FTR productions & MrSmithMedia.

Rick snyder is about to give away $350 Million in taxpayer money to ‘save’ the DIA.  Not because Michiganians around the state made the mistake of financial mismanagement, but because of continually unaddressed cronyism, criminality and fraud within Detroit, and its leadership.

The Documentary addresses Detroit, the auto bailouts, and the reasons things have gone terribly terribly wrong. It will offer a precautionary tale for those who might wish to follow Rick Snyder down the continual slippery sloped that is Detroit, Michigan.

It premiers next week in Washington DC, and then will be available on Youtube.  Watch the teaser below!

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