Michigan Townhalls

District Overview
How should the state assist other municipalities and school districts whose solvency is threatened by its financial obligations to current and future retirees? (This is a question from the 2016 MI Voters Guide.)

I would like a fair assessment of the current situation without the finger-pointing or shaming associated with the debt. We all make mistakes; sometimes they don't seem like mistakes at the time but the best decision given the choices.

If municipalities and school districts have debts in their retirement systems, the state should increase revenue and share it with the municipalities and school districts to make these obligations flush. Then, these municipalities and school districts can engage experts in retirement financing to plan their pension funds to avoid shortages in the future.

Again, blaming small municipalities and school districts for making hard financial decisions between operating expenses and retirement funds solves no problems today or tomorrow. If these groups do not have the means to raise the revenue themselves, then the State should assist.

We are all Michiganders. We can all take care of each other and forgive mistakes but plan to take a different path in the future.

It is the employees of these municipalities and school districts who will ultimately suffer from these shortages. And most of them were not the ones making the funding decisions. Do we really want to punish our fire fighters, our teachers, our public works employees for forces beyond their control?