MEA President Paula Herbart used her monthly “Labor Voices” column in The Detroit News to slam various schemes being floated by Republican leaders in the Legislature to bond, restructure, or reamortize the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.
A pension is a promise of a secure retirement, she writes, but too often in Lansing pensions are viewed as a piggy bank to be broken into for political purposes.
“As a young educator, I remember then-Gov. John Engler diverting state payments from the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System to fund other priorities — which accelerated us down a road of unfunded pension liabilities,” Herbart says in her column.
“Now, years later, some lawmakers are pushing ‘pensions for potholes’ schemes that take money meant to pay those retirement liabilities and use it instead to fix our roads.
“These risky schemes would jeopardize the retirement of tens of thousands of current and retired school employees — all to avoid making tough choices to invest in our crumbling infrastructure.
“Republican legislative leaders, who left town in June without passing a budget, are floating various ideas to bond, restructure or reamortize MPSERS’ liabilities to pay for road repairs. All these schemes threaten the security of school employee pension funds and saddle taxpayers with billions of dollars of additional debt.”