December 20, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Lansing, MI – Republican legislators in Michigan have dropped plans to enact bills during the lame-duck session that would eliminate pensions for future teachers and cut health care for retired local government employees, but Gov. Rick Snyder says the issue will be a top priority for him next year.
He told the Associated Press Dec. 14 that a “broad brush” was not the best way to approach the issue, and that the state government should focus on localities whose retiree health-care and pension funds are significantly underfunded. Local governments in the state, he said, have an estimated $11 billion in unfunded liabilities. He said he plans to form a task force to study the issue early next year, and indicated that cities whose funds are in serious enough trouble might have their finances put under the control of a state emergency manager. No Michigan cities currently have an emergency manager, he said, but “you don’t want to take that for granted.” Amway President Doug DeVos, like his sister-in-law Betsy DeVos a leading anti-labor activist in the state, said in September that switching government employees from pensions to 401(k)-style plans should be the number-one policy priority in Michigan. Read more