Should newly hired teachers be let into the State’s pension program? That’s the question dividing Republicans and Governor Rick Snyder right now.
Republicans chose to nix budget talks with Governor Snyder today over a dispute between whether newly hired teachers in Michigan should be eligible for only a 401k and no longer a traditional pension. Some argue that could derail a quick resolution of the next state budget.
The Governor says, though there are disagreements, there’s time to make a decision and work through the issues.
“This is just part of the process, people have different perspectives and differences of opinion, but traditionally what we’ve been able to do is respect one another and work toward a common ground answer ,” says Governor Snyder.
The Governor is resisting a legislative push by his own party to close the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System, or MPSERS, currently offered and force them into a 401K instead.
Senate Republicans set aside about $500-million to begin to work on that.
However, the Governor says, if closed, the state could see major transitional costs that might be more than the current system.
And he’s not alone..
“The costs are exorbitant and could potentially bankrupt the state,” says Spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association, David Crim.
Crim says, the numbers don’t add up and there are more pressing needs in the state.
“If they have a half a billion dollars laying around, should they spend that destroying teacher pensions, or fixing the roads,” says Crim.
In a statement from House Speaker, Tom Leonard’s office:
House and Senate leaders will continue to talk and move the budget forward, but they would like to see a solution to the crippling MPSERS crisis be a part of that final plan. We need to see more progress on that front for negotiations with the administration to be helpful. We have a great opportunity to finally fix this important problem that is hurting our teachers, our schools, and our state. We have to get it right.”