Ironically, it is usually the city or county that can least afford the luxury of the experiment in question that bites. Take, for example, the issue of mandated local paid leave. Currently there are three cities in the United States with local ordinances mandating paid leave of private employers within their jurisdiction. San Francisco, for example, requires all employers regardless of size to offer up to 72 hours of paid leave to each of their employees, whether they are full-time or part-time.
Legislation currently being debated in the Michigan legislature would prohibit local governments from requiring businesses in their jurisdiction to provide paid leave to employees. The National Federation of Independent Business and the Michigan Restaurant Association view such legislation as a preemptive move to head off paid leave advocates at the pass before they can bring their show to local governments in Michigan.
The efforts of state lawmakers and the administration to transform our business climate into one that retains and attracts business, and the jobs they provide, is put into jeopardy when local governments create their own islands of regulation and micro management that tarnish the perception of Michigan as a development destination.
New investment entering the state can just avoid these activist local areas – much to the detriment of their citizens. Expanding businesses that are already established in areas where local governments seek to over-regulate will likely move out of that area when they grow out of their current facilities. Other businesses that cannot move because of a captive customer base will cut jobs, raise prices or reduce services to cope with the additional cost and hassle of poorly thought out local rules and regulations. When this happens the local citizens suffer the consequences and it becomes more likely that they too will consider moving out of the area, further diminishing the tax base of the local government and contributing to a vicious cycle of decline (Detroit is a relevant example).
Finally, with all of the hue and cry from local governments about revenue sharing cuts and budget shortfalls, perhaps they might better serve their residents by focusing on the basic services that their citizens want and deserve rather than expanding into policy areas that are more appropriately the venue of the state and federal government.