House passes sweeping attack on school employee retirement

EAST LANSING, Mich., June 14, 2012 - The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding today’s passage of Senate Bill 1040 in the State House:

“With their passage of Senate Bill 1040 today, most House Republicans went on record in support of the single worst attack on school employee retirement security in history. 

“While there are minor improvements to the original version of SB 1040, this shifting of retirement costs onto the backs of current and retired school employees is unconscionable, especially in light of the Republicans’ tax on pensions enacted last year.

“Since 40 percent of school retirees earn a pension of less than $12,000, it’s ridiculous to think they can somehow squeeze additional dollars out of their pension checks to pay more for health care, which this bill requires of thousands of school retirees under age 65.

“Current school employees are struggling with wage cuts, increased out-of-pocket health insurance costs, and the 3 percent tax on their wages for retirement health care – they can’t afford these increased pension contributions. SB 1040 will push many school employees into precarious financial situations, leaving them unable to support a family or local businesses.

“This legislation also eliminates retiree health insurance for future school employees.  Given the attacks on their rights, wages, benefits, and retirement security, why would the best and brightest students consider a career in education?  And what does that mean for the future of public education in Michigan?

“Extreme Republican politicians in Lansing have proven time and again that their number one priority is looking out for corporate special interests.  The billions of dollars in tax cuts they have doled out to those CEO’s and corporations – while continually attacking the middle class, senior citizens and all working people of this state – will not be forgotten in November.

“We hope senators use this legislative break to talk with their constituents, take another hard look at this complex issue, and fully understand the impacts SB 1040 will have on the school employees and retirees who have dedicated their lives to educating our children.”

 

Contact:  Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-896-4465