House Democrats voted to protect the earned health care benefits of Michigan’s retired first responders. Last week, hundreds of police officers and firefighters rallied against proposals which could have gutted health care for public safety officials and municipal employees.
Thursday, the recommendation of House Democrats to implement the reforms of the bipartisan Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force was accepted. While these benefits are now protected, communities in the state continue to struggle with chronic underfunding of local budgets. In response, state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) issued the following statement:
“As a former city commissioner, I saw how billions of dollars in state funding cuts hurt our communities and made it hard for local officials to provide the services we need. But balancing the state budget on the backs of firefighters, police officers and municipal employees was never the answer. I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues in getting Republicans to agree to recommendations from the governor’s Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force, which we supported since it was first released. There’s no denying that our communities face financial problems, and the plan we passed tonight is only a start. But promises were made to our firefighters, police officers and municipal employees that retiree benefits and healthcare would be there for them, and tonight with our vote that promise was kept.”