Teachers Brace for Blow to Benefits

Teachers brace for a blow to their benefits.

In just a matter of hours, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign a new law that will mean major changes to teacher health care and benefits.

Many republicans say it's a huge step forward for our state but educators say the state is breaking promises it made to teachers.

Senate bill 1040, it means major reforms to teacher's health care and pensions and many republicans say it's about time.

Senator Jim Marleau, (R) Oakland County: “We have a governor that basically is sick and tired of kicking the can down the aisle– its gotta be corrected now.”

The new law will mean teachers will have to choose between contributing more to their pensions or getting less and new teachers will no longer get state health care in retirement.

Senator Marleau: “This is a, ya know, a vital thing that we just have to do to get the system sustainable.”

Financially sustainable but the other side says cuts like this wont sustain quality teachers.

David Hecker, American Federation of Teachers: 'If we want to retain and attract the best and the brightest teachers — you don't go about doing that by undercutting their retirement and by eliminating retiree healthcare.”

But Marleau disagrees.

Marleau: “I do not thing its gonna have a negative impact on teachers.”

In fact, he says it'll do the opposite.

Marleau: “This is gonna be good for the employees, its gonna be good for the taxpayers and it's gonna be good for our children.

The key to the whole thing is that we're able to finally get more money to the classroom.”

But opponents says it'll drive teachers away.

Hecker: “No one, no one supports this. Its really counterproductive to continuing to attract the best and the brightest.”

But regardless of how unpopular it may be, Governor Snyder plans to sign the bill into law on Tuesday.

Senator Marleau says this year, schools are paying 27 percent of their payroll to retiree costs.

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