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MSU creates center to help struggling Michigan local governments

Dec 29, 2015

Michigan cities are getting a little help dealing with financial problems.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University’s new Local Government Finance and Policy Center is intended to be a resource for cities. The center will offer workshops on fiscal sustainability and research municipal governance.  The center will also produce an annual fiscal health report on each of Michigan’s cities, counties and townships.

Director Eric Scorsone says mounting legacy costs are the biggest challenge facing most communities in Michigan.

“Those commitments and promises made to employees and retirees, both pension and health care,” says Scorsone, “We need to respect those promises, while at the same time how do we financially make good on those promises?”

Scorsone and his MSU colleagues have advised governments,  including Detroit, Flint and Lansing on short and long-term fiscal issues. They have  worked with state and local officials to move beyond emergency management.

Scorsone says the center will release a report in January detailing the legacy cost problem.