Jackson Not Alone in Municipal Finance Struggle

The League's Anthony Minghine leads a highly successful town hall event in Jackson Monday about the state's broken system for funding municipalities.

The League’s Anthony Minghine leads a highly successful town hall event in Jackson Monday about the state’s broken system for funding municipalities.

“This isn’t a Jackson problem, it is a statewide problem.. The system is broken. The state has been taking those dollars, that were supposed to be directed to local government, and using them to balance the state budget. In total, right now when you look at the amount that was supposed to flow to cities, villages, townships and counties, it’s $7.5 billion.” – Anthony Minghine in mlive.com/Jackson Citizen Patriot.

This is a quote from one of many media reports about Tony’s highly successful visit to Jackson Monday, with stops at  mlive.com, 970 AM radio, and the Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

Tony also led a town hall discussion at Jackson City Hall Monday evening in front of more than 40 Jackson area residents as well as local government officials from surrounding communities. Some of the communities represented by local officials at the town hall meeting were Homer, Brooklyn, Dexter, Parma, Jackson and some of the area townships.

Also the offices of state Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, and state Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, had staff members in attendance.

Anthony Minghine (left) and Dan Greer (center) talk about municipal finance with Bert Hawley on the Bert Hawley show on JTV in Jackson.

Anthony Minghine (left) and Dan Greer (center) talk about municipal finance with Bert Hawley on the Bert Hawley show on JTV in Jackson.

Minghine has been traveling throughout the state meeting with local business leaders, local media and community officials to explain why our communities are financially struggling and will continue to struggle even thought the state’s economy is on the rebound.

If you are interested in having Minghine come and speak  in your community contact the League’s Matt Bach at mbach@mml.org.

The purpose of the statewide municipal finance tour is to educate the general public and business community about the state’s municipal funding system. Part of what we discuss is how the state has diverted away more than $7.5 billion in revenue sharing from local communities. (Use our data base to see how much money has been diverted from your community). But we also talk about possible solutions.

In short our overall message is that great places make for a strong economy, and the research supports that contention. By employing community-based placemaking strategies, we strengthen both our economic and social future.

The League believes that at the heart of great places are strong cities. Across the country, cities account for over 80 percent of GDP, but in Michigan we have failed to invest in this vital resource.

Local government leaders and Jackson area residents listen to Anthony Minghine of the Michigan Municipal League at a town hall event Monday.

Local government leaders and Jackson area residents listen to Anthony Minghine of the Michigan Municipal League at a town hall event Monday.

After years of working within the existing paradigms, the League has started this statewide tour as part of a major legislative and policy push aimed at reforming municipal finance in Michigan to encourage renewed investment in our communities.

This is intended to be an examination of how we can do things differently in Michigan to assure that local government can’t just survive, but can thrive.

To that end, the League will be developing policy recommendations around three themes: Cost Containment, Revenue Enhancement, and Structure of Government.

We are taking this approach to break away from the historically limiting tactic of incremental change within the context of where we are today.

We need new ideas, innovative approaches, and bold action to create a new future for communities around Michigan.

Learn more and join the conversation at SaveMiCity.org.

Multiple media outlets covered our municipal finance tour stop in Jackson Monday.

The League's Anthony Minghine meets with mlive.com officials in Jackson Monday morning along with Jackson City Council member and MML Board Member Dan Greer (right).

The League’s Anthony Minghine meets with mlive.com officials in Jackson Monday morning along with Jackson City Council member and MML Board Member Dan Greer (right).

Here are links to each one:

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.