Michigan Education Association


Michigan Senate violates no tax pledge

Retirement bill unfairly taxes public employees

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 15, 2010 – Many Michigan Senators reneged on their promise not to raise taxes when they passed two bills that would tax public employees who don’t retire before July 1, 2010.

The dictionary definition of a tax is “a fee or money charged to people to finance government expenditures.”

By that measure or any other, SB 1226 and SB1227 would impose a 3 percent tax on 46,000 teachers and state employees who elect to continue working—at a time when those groups have already accepted concessions that have saved the state over a billion dollars in the past three years.

“The Senate has clearly violated its no tax pledge,” said Michigan Education Association President Iris K. Salters. “Senators seem to feel it’s okay to raise taxes on some citizens, but not all. That’s hypocrisy at its height.”

To achieve this tax, the bills would require all current school employees who do not retire to pay an additional 3 percent into the state retirement system, effectively forcing them to take a pay cut on top of agreed upon concessions—higher benefit costs and furlough days—that these workers have already endured.

Instead of looking for balanced solutions to the budget crisis, such as closing ineffective tax loopholes that don’t produce jobs, the Senate has decided on an election-year gimmick that taxes just a portion of our population and tries to balance the budget on the backs of public employees.

Throughout the process, many lawmakers have also violated their duty to seek sources of additional revenue to fund public education, despite promises to consider new sources alongside any budget cutting measures.

“You’ve passed your reforms,” said Salters. “Now, where’s the revenue?”

“The MEA urges the House to pass on gimmicks like the retirement bills and find the courage to lead this state down a path that values education for Michigan students,” said Salters.

Contact Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Communications, 517-337-5508

Updated: April 15, 2010