Everyone knows of the sorry state of the Michigan economy. Not as well known, perhaps, is the sorry state of its public sector pension plans. Municipal governments made extravagant promises to their employees in the go-go 1990s, expecting the Federal Reserve's funny-money bubble market returns to last forever. Those pension plans now find themselves perilously underfunded.
The evidence is anecdotal, but it appears our public servants have found creative ways to raise revenues while enhancing their retirement income security. A couple of years back, I got a ticket for going the wrong way on a one-way street in Royal Oak. Actually, it was a one-way street only between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., it had been a full-time two-way street just 10 days earlier, and I was driving home from work and force of habit clearly had precipitated the moving violation. The City's humane response to this long-time resident and taxpayer's faux pas? I was fined $115 on a reduced charge of impeding traffic.
Last month, I got a $20 ticket while vacationing in Lexington, the "Friendly Resort Town," for parking on a side street between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. The only signs advising motorists of this ordinance appear on Highway 25 on the outskirts of the Village, a good mile from where my car was parked. Needless to say, this hapless out-of-towner's pleas for leniency fell on deaf ears. I have friends who relate a similar experience in Traverse City.
We peons make sacrifices when we lose our jobs and benefits, but don't expect our donut-dunking royalty to do the same. If our tax dollars aren't enough, they'll lay their lives on the line enforcing every technicality. Be careful out there.
Tony. Check your facts a little carfully before you write about funds towards police. Police don not pass traffic laws. They may make recomendations, but the laws are passed by the municipalities. The proposed law then goes to a county board for final approval. The fines are set by the cities and the courts. The fines paid are divided to many funds. They help pay for the court system, building and clerks salaries, the judges salaries,victims rights funds, State funds for education just to name a few. A small portion does indirectly make it to the police departments in the form of a training fund. It is illegal in Michigan for money to go directly to law enforcemnt agencies. You want to stop funding the justice system? Then obey the laws that are passed that help protect society and keep it functioning in an orderly manner. I am a retired police officer. I paid into my pension sytem while I was working. The municipality portion of my pension does not come from ticket fines and costs. It comes from a special milage passed by the residents of the community where I worked. Oh, I hate "donuts".