Even Tom Brokaw is talking about reinventing the public sector…
“A year ago a bipartisan state commission said that New Yorkers could save more than a billion dollars a year by consolidating and sharing local government responsibilities like public security, health, roads and education,” Brokaw wrote this month in the New York Times. “One commission member, a county executive, said, ‘Our system of local government has barely evolved over the past one hundred years and we are still governed by these same archaic institutions formed before the invention of the light bulb, telephone, automobile and computer.’ In accepting the commission’s recommendations, Gov. David Paterson promised to work diligently to put the changes into effect. When his budget was presented this spring it included several of the proposed changes, but it immediately met stiff resistance even from members of his own party who were determined to protect their parochial interests. It appears that few of the original recommendations will survive… It’s time to reorganize our state and local government structures for today’s realities rather than cling to the sensibilities of the 20th century. If we demand this from General Motors, we should ask no less of ourselves.”
In Michigan, Brokaw’s plea for reorganization is simple reality.
The state budget deficit for the year ending this October is more than $1 billion and growing by hundreds of millions of dollars each month. Projections put the long-term structural deficit at $10 billion by 2017 and those projections, now a year old, very well may have been too hopeful.
Double-digit drops in property values are quickly eroding local government budgets.
Reinvention is at hand. Like it or not.
And yet, the Legislator and Granholm Administration continue to fail to act on longstanding reform ideas proposed by the governor’s own financial advisory panel and the Center for Michigan’s list of $1.5 billion in documented reform possibilities. Likewise, a legislative reform commission is developing another billion or more in possible state budget fixes.
If you are in the public or private sector and eager to see an accelerated pace of change in Lansing, join us on May 13 for the Center’s Action Group on Government Accountability. Already, more than 150 people have signed up for a fast-paced morning of detailed reform discussion. Topics participants will debate, vote on, and, in some cases, sign up to work on in the capitol include…
1. GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION ISSUES: 1) School Consolidation and Service Sharing; 2) The Consolidate vs. Collaborate debate in local government; 3) Money saving possibilities of public safety service sharing agreements; 4) Local collaboration hurdles and success; 5) The debate to change two controversial state laws: Act 312 and the Urban Cooperation Act.
2. GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY ISSUES: 1) Benchmarking local government best practices; 2) Potential changes to revenue sharing to fund specific services.
3. PERSONNEL ISSUES: 1) Potential savings and costs of public sector staff cuts; 2) Pros and cons of benefits changes — increased co-pays and pooling across jurisdictions; 3) Pros and cons of moving from pensions to 401k-style benefits.
Seats are filling fast. Email us today to reserve yours.