State Representative Brett Roberts today said he will continue to support reforms protecting retirement benefits for police, firefighters and other municipal employees as bills move through the Michigan Legislature.
“Our first responders provide an irreplaceable service to our communities, and we can’t take their sacrifices for granted,” said Roberts (R-Charlotte). “This issue deserves plenty of careful attention. We must make sure we find the best way to preserve retirement benefits and public services.”
Roberts voted in favor of reform legislation related to municipal employee retirement plans last week. Roberts said he will continue to support the package as it progresses through the Legislature, as long as it remains limited to implementing recommendations of Gov. Rick Snyder’s task force from earlier this year.
Thanks in large part to residents making their opinions known to legislators, the bills solely focus on the task force recommendations. The legislation emphasizes information gathering and reporting to help each individual municipality determine the financial health of their retirement plans. In cases where retirement plans are financially stressed, a municipal stability board would be created to help local governments find their own solutions.
The reforms set up a system to help guide local governments with underfunded plans to solid financial footing, so they can continue to pay for promised retiree benefits and public services.
“I was proud to stand with 104 of my colleagues in support of police officers and fire fighters across the state,” Roberts said of last week’s House vote. “This package will ensure that municipalities have the information necessary to adequately fund pension and benefit obligations for our first responders, without the state forcing them into potential fiscally irresponsible decisions.”
House Bill 5298 and its companion bills have been referred to the Senate for further consideration.