POLICE & FIRE DEPARTMENTS ACROSS MICHIGAN ARE COLLAPSING UNDER THEIR OWN WEIGHT
We all want quality public services. However, police & fire bargaining units have become very savvy at pulling on our heart strings to force-open our wallets. Funding police,
fire and EMS services must be a business decision, not an emotional one. The constant use of scare tactics and mis-information by unions and government officials has prompted voters to pay far more for police & fire service than is necessary. The resulting unsustainable contracts must be addressed and corrected if services are to be maintained. The MYTHS tab above will debunk many of the falsehoods and half-truths utilized by fire and police unions (and government officials) to scare residents into unnecessarily voting to pay more and get less in return.
PUBLIC SECTOR SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS BATTLE EACH OTHER FOR CONTROL OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS
Decades of fleecing the golden goose have made her infertile. The goose has no more golden eggs to bear. As a result, various public service departments within local governments are attacking each other in a fight for the limited money that can be extracted from taxpayers. Recent examples are the attempted consolidation of water & DPW clerical/billing to the Treasurer's office and failed attempts to consolidate police & fire dispatch services. Unfortunately, providing the best service at the lowest cost to taxpayers is not always the primary consideration when these battles between departments erupt. In most cases, it's about who gets the biggest cut of taxpayers' money and maintaining membership for their particular union. Most local municipalities have several separate employee unions jockeying for power and control.
Repeated abuse of taxpayer generosity by these special interest groups has brought things to a head. Some of our civil servants have transformed themselves into entitlement-minded self-servants by rewarding themselves with lavish wages & benefits that exceed the taxpayers' ability to pay. The application of this reckless & shortsighted behavior in tandem with one-sided laws that favor unions has paralyzed local governments. The result is usually bad for taxpayers, who are forced to choose between sacrificing services or paying more. The SOLUTIONS tab focuses on real-world solutions that allow taxpayers to have the services they expect at a competitive cost they can afford.
The effects of allowing public service costs to go unchecked are devastating. Seniors on a fixed income are now forced to choose between flushing their toilets or buying life-saving medications and food. As a result of new 5-unit minimums and steep water-rate increases, seniors have experienced 40-50% increases in their water bills since 2008 while their Social Security benefits have not increased. Local governments are also now charging residents additionally for services that used to be provided as part of their general operating millages. Despite the new fees that local governments are now charging residents for services that were normally included in their general funds, local governments are still providing free administrative billing and collection services for its special-interest labor unions.
There is also a long-term impact that high taxes and fees have on real estate in the community. Cities and townships that charge high millage rates for inefficiently administered government services are at a competitive disadvantage to municipalities that offer those services competitively. Cities and townships with high millage rates all have one thing in common: high real estate vacancy rates. As you drive down Gratiot or Groesbeck, one thing is readily apparent--the number of vacant businesses. High tax rates that a municipality imposes on its business community are a deterrent to new businesses and a destroyer of existing ones. We have provided a case study of two neighboring townships that prove this theory, the case study can be viewed in the "Tale of Two Townships" tab above.
GOVERNOR SNYDER CALLS FOR CONSOLIDATION AND COST-CUTTING IN ALL LEVELS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Early in 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called upon local municipalities to seek-out ways to increase efficiencies in the way they offer services to their residents. While some local governments have taken heed to the Governor's request, others, at the direction of their local labor unions, are unwilling to put the residents they serve ahead of the special interest of those labor unions. This is witnessed by the redoubling of efforts by local government employee unions to continually force millage increases onto numerous special elections and strip-away services provided by private-sector contractors and bring them into the fold of big government. Instead of local governments competitively bidding and consolidating services, local government employee unions are pressuring local elected officials to strip-away cost effective services that are currently contracted to cost effective private-sector service providers. They are replacing cost effective services with overpriced and inefficient services provided by government employee unions. In most cases, public services provided by government unions are no better than those provided by private sector contractors--they only cost more.
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