Tom Ivacko's guest column in Bridge magazine proposes dialogue on funding for local governments

February 12, 2013
In a guest column for Bridge Magazine Tom Ivacko makes the case for a statewide discussion about how local governments are funded in Michigan. The most recent Michigan Public Policy Survey from the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy found that 58 percent of local leaders in Michigan believe the state's funding system is broken.

"Among the leaders who think the funding model is broken, overwhelming majorities think each major part of the system is broken, including the gas tax, the sales tax, the Headlee Amendment and Proposal A, revenue sharing and more," Ivacko writes.

Despite significant cuts in services in recent years, only 43 percent of Michigan leaders think they will be able to continue providing services at current levels. That means local governments can expect future cuts.

"Without significant reform to the funding system, our local leaders see a new round of retrenchment in the future, with fiscal health preserved largely by increasingly difficult cuts," Ivacko writes. "Is that the future we would choose? Perhaps, perhaps not. But we ought to talk about it before it's too late."