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Grand Rapids mayor: lower revenue sharing threatens success of cities, state

Oct 7, 2016

 

Local governments around the state have been trying to figure out how to keep things going on a tighter budget. They’re not bringing in as much money as they have during better economic times of the past.

That's partly because the state has been cutting back on how much sales tax revenue it shares with cities and towns. And a lot of local leaders want to change that.

The new Board President of the Michigan Municipal League is Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids.

She joined us to talk about how Michigan cities are working to make ends meet while grappling with reduced revenue sharing.

“Even in the city of Grand Rapids, over the last 10 years, we’ve lost almost $70 million in revenue sharing,” Bliss told us.

The state is still technically sending cities more than is constitutionally obligated, but Bliss told us that's not good enough.

She said legislators "need to be committed to finding solutions, and not be okay with having cities go into bankruptcy.”

"We need the state to come alongside and to be partners with us to solve this, especially when we know that the success of the state is driven by the success of cities. And I think for a long time cities haven’t necessarily felt there’s a real partnership there, that there’s a commitment to support cities, and I think that’s what needs to change.”

Listen to our conversation above for more.

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