Michigan lawmakers fail to vote on pension reform

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June 15, 2012

Michigan

By: Stephan Burklin
LANSING, Michigan: Michigan lawmakers’ attempts to reformed parts of the state’s Public School Employees Retirement System stalled on Thursday when Senate Bill 1040 died.

Republican leaders didn’t bring up the bill, which had been approved in the lower chamber, because they couldn’t cobble together the necessary votes.[1]

According to AnnArbor.com, Republican Rick Olson said he was “angry and disappointed” Thursday after leaving the Senate floor.[1]

As passed by the House, the bill would have made several changes to the portions of state law governing the retirement system. It would have capped the level of compensation used to calculate future benefits, allowed new hires to opt for 401(k)-style plans or make bigger contributions to the state’s plan, and eliminated state-covered health care premiums.[2]

Olson told AnnArbor.com, “Because it was a Senate bill, to make it law, all the Senate would have needed to do is concur with our version of the bill. There are going to be a whole bunch of schools that will be very disappointed.”[1]

Democrats have generally opposed the bill. Also according to AnnArbor.com, Rep. David Rutledge said, "Not only does this bill break the promise made to retirees, but it is essentially another cut to classrooms, as it makes it more difficult for teachers to make ends meet.”[1]

Rep. Jeff Irwin said, "This bill doesn't solve the financial problems of our pension system that have been exacerbated by the privatization of public school. Instead, SB 1040 is a backdoor pay cut for teachers that will draw even more resources out of the classroom."[1]

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