Why Snyder's government reform plan may sound familiar

(Originally published March 22, 2011)

Gov. Rick Snyder’s speech Monday aimed at reinventing local government actually reinvented (or at least reiterated) numerous reform ideas offered in recent years by the Center for Michigan and other public interest groups.

Examples:

• Intensifying local government consolidation and service sharing was a key recommendation of the Center’s citizens’ agenda emerging from nearly 600 Community Conversations across Michigan. By a nine-to-one margin, participants in larger citizen “Action Group” meetings hosted by the Center favored intensified government consolidation and service sharing.

The Center for Michigan’s reform summit in May 2009 as well as the Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s bipartisan Emergency Financial Advisory Panel and the Legislative Commission on Government Efficiency, among many other groups, have called for the elimination of barriers to service sharing and consolidation.

• The Center, among other groups, has repeatedly called for reform of Act 312, the Urban Cooperation Act and other measures which currently impede service sharing and consolidation.

• Snyder alluded in his reform speech to benchmarking and identifying best practices in local government. Citing research by former MSU and state of Michigan fiscal analyst Eric Scorsone, the Center has pointed to benchmarking consortiums in other regions of the country that have saved up to 2.5 percent of total local government budgets. (See page 7 of our May 2009 report.)

• The Legislative Commission on Government Efficiency recommended – and the Center for Michigan trumpeted in 2009 – the notion of a new revenue sharing formula to reward efficiency, collaboration, and best practices. (See page 8 in our May 2009 report.)

• The Center pointed to the opportunity for tightened local government pension eligibility and the move to 401k-styled plans in May 2009. (See page 10 in our May 2009 report.)

• The Center, among many other groups, has pointed to the possible choice of increasing health care co-pays on local government workers as a cost saving approach. (See page 11 in our May 2009 report.)

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