Glenn introduces reforms to protect firefighter, police retiree healthcare

Legislator introduces two bills in broad reform package

Lansing, Mich. -- Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp., today introduced legislation included in a broad reform plan to protect public services and the retirement benefits for police, firefighters and other local government employees in Michigan.

The reforms stress transparency and proper reporting from local governments to pinpoint ones that may be at risk of bankruptcy due to underfunded retirement plans. The reforms will help set up a system to help them avoid financial crisis.

“We are working to safeguard the retirement benefits of the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us,” Glenn said after the reform package was introduced in the Michigan House. “Public safety employees need these reforms, because doing nothing would leave their retirement healthcare benefits at risk of being eliminated in bankruptcy.

A task force earlier this year assembled by Gov. Rick Snyder explored the critical challenges posed by Michigan’s underfunded local government employee retirement systems, which have unfunded liabilities approaching $20 billion. Glenn and other lawmakers are following up the task force report with a multi-bill package to address mounting local retiree healthcare and pension costs.

The legislation creates a reporting system with uniform financial and accounting standards for local government retirement plans. An early detection system will help local governments and the state identify potential funding problems and act quickly to mitigate them. Communities will be vetted through a state treasurer’s fiscal impact evaluation and retirement systems will be flagged as underfunded when municipalities aren’t meeting set criteria to alleviate their debts.

Local governments will have plenty of opportunity to address issues on their own. But if that fails, a financial management team with local and state representation will step in to force changes to put programs back on firm financial footing.

Glenn is the primary sponsor of two bills in the multi-bill legislative package which specifically deal with the reporting and analysis requirements for local governments.