A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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A Better Way to Protect Detroit Pensioners

Make it a 'contract city'

… potential for steeper pension cuts for Detroit retirees … off to satisfy both pensioners and creditors. The … of the city. Pensioners and residents would … Mackinac Center has warned that a pension reckoning was inevitable … more

Democrats Selectively Considering Pension Benefits In Education Funding

Pensions once 'earned in the classrooms' now excluded from funding equation by Democrats

… costs. He said the pensions were earned by teachers … compensation, which includes pension benefits, most certainly … Funds' Pension Costs Mean Tighter Budgets … more

Pension 'Transition Costs' Remain a Myth

Package of bills would finally close school employee pension plan

… state-run school employee pension system and offering … that the rules for pension accounting only guide how pensions are reported and do not mandate a pension funding policy. In any … more

Teacher Pension System Hole Getting Deeper

State falls $290 million short on school pension funding in 2012 after GOP left old system largely in place

… unfunded school employee pension promises. Due to … future contributions. Pension liability was reduced … contribution. ~~~~~ See also: Pension Study Consultants Have … Defending Expensive Pension Plans House … more

Hathaway Pension: First Check Due Before Sentencing

Despite pleading guilty to bank fraud, Diane Hathaway to collect nearly $100K pension

… thanks to her first pension check from the state … received additional pension checks by that time. Although … of Hathaway's annual pension has yet to be confirmed. … regarding Hathaway's pension. "It will need to be … more

Constitutional Pension Reform, 50 Years On

… state's school employee pension fund was revised upward … state government s pension fund for public school … constitutionally protecting public pensions, and it is time to … and local government pensions. As the chairman … more

How Politicians Game the Pension System

There are few political gains from properly funding a defined benefit plan

… employers should pay the pensions that its employees … country, government pensions systems have failed … required to pay those pensions. Michigan's recent … incentives to ensure that pensions are properly funded. The … more
Map of Michigan

Pension Debt: Not Just a Problem in Detroit

Detroit s pension woes may be in the news, … presume that their pension systems are secure. … its general employee pension system underfunding … for every dollar in pension benefits earned by an … more

Facing Possible Jail Time, Disgraced Justice Can Still Collect Pension

Estimates place former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway's annual pension at nearly $100K

… to get a hefty state pension. It's been estimated … Hathaway's annual state pension would come to $98,766. … system. So would Hathaway's pension eligibility change if … ability to get her pension. If she were convicted, … more

Michigan Company Billed $465,774 For Teamsters Pension After Laying Off Its Last Unionized Trucker

Severely underfunded private-sector union pension plans are hurting companies

… to get out of union pension funds, those guys are … the Teamsters union pension fund. "We got the … later." Teamsters Central States Pension Fund sent the bill to … ceased paying into the pension fund at that time because … more

Michigan Still Underfunding Teacher Pensions

Made full contribution just twice in last decade

Michigan's school employee pension system is underfunded … necessary to pay for the pensions that employees earn and … more

Why Detroit Pensions are Underfunded

Plenty of blame to go around

… meant that the city s pensioners may receive less … reasons why Detroit s pension systems are in poor … most basic reason that pensions are underfunded in … ineffective at keeping pensions funded during bad times. A … more

Politicians Cannot Be Trusted To Properly Fund Pensions

Defined benefit plans should be closed for the good of workers

… properly fund public pension and health care systems. Consider … Illinois. In each case, pension systems were supposed … retiree health care and pensions. But only 10 percent … taxpayers, defined-benefit pension systems should be ended … more

Pension Costs Mean Tighter Budgets For Classrooms, Taxpayers

MPSERS has unfunded liability of $24.3 billion

… employee retirement pension and health care costs … 2013-14. The teacher pension system has become an … skyrocketing cost for the pension system shows how K-12 … traditional annual pension. That lowered the MPSERS … more

Other Michigan Cities in Pension Debt

Not just a Detroit problem

Detroit's pension woes are in the news, … presume that their pension systems are secure. Indeed, … its general employee pension system underfunding … for every dollar in pension benefits earned by an … more

Why Detroit's Pension Funds Failed

The assumption problems are statewide

… explains why Detroit s pension funds are in crisis … and school employee pension systems. Excerpt: The … failure of Detroit s pension systems has been blamed … governments to pay for pensions as they are earned, … more

Supreme Court Justice's Problems Not Likely to Affect Generous Pension

With 20 years of judicial service, Justice Diane Hathaway could get $100K a year pension

… probably look forward to a pension that may be just shy … eligible for a state pension. According to the Office … details yet on her pension," Department of Technology, … Supreme Court Justice s pension is straight-forward. … more

School Pension Fund Needs Fewer Gimmicks

Legislature still putting off real reform

… to rework the school pension underfunding problem … represents just another pension gimmick, and a harmful … instead consider real pension reform. House … on years of school pension system underfunding. … more

Commentary: State Budget Windfall Invalidates Pension Reform Excuses

Legislators should use extra money to shift new school employees to 401(k)-type accounts

… liabilities in the school pension system. The temporary … between the school pension system s future commitments … conventional defined-benefit pension system. Every state … in the country faces pension fund shortfalls. In … more

Public School Pension System Totally Broken

Taxpayers on the hook for billions in unfunded liabilities

… care retirement and pension costs, said James Hohman, … multi-billion dollar unfunded pension and retiree health care … billion in 2012, just for pension liabilities. That unfunded pension liability was $835 million … more

Rigged Pension Study Produces Expected Conclusions

Legislators should close underfunded defined-benefit system

… state s school employee pension system to a defined-contribution … suspect that the state s pension system is perfectly … would not even consider pension reform; pension costs would be the relatively … more

Commentary: Unions Cry Crocodile Tears Over Municipal Pensions

House Bill 4804 would make it easier for local governments to get out of defined benefit system

… defined-benefit pension systems is causing unions … existing defined-benefit pension system to new employees, … Committee. These defined-benefit pension systems were a contributor … impressive but unrealistic pension promises from pandering … more

GOP Fumbles: On Verge of Giving MEA Huge Pension Win

… defined-benefit school pension system to new hires … servants in the state pension office (who, like the … states that closed their pension systems without paying … the same school pension reform passed by the … more

Constitutional Convention Delegates Wanted State Worker Pensions To Be Fully Funded

Notes from the 1962 constitutional convention show true intent of what voters passed

Retiree pensions in Detroit were underfunded. … was 1961 and retiree pensions were underfunded to … attempted to protect those pensions in a new constitution … projects the city's pension liability at $3.5 billion … more

Ann Arbor Considers Cutting Lucrative Fossil Fuel Stocks From Underfunded Pension Plan

… its city retirees pension fund from investments … could be urging its pension board to pull out from … nationwide for many public pension funds. Financial experts … returns. Ann Arbor s own pension report states that the … more

House GOP on Verge of Surrendering to MEA

… Republicans, a major school pension reform passed by the … defined benefit school pension system to new employees, … and and other government pension systems suggests that much … Engler s original 1996 pension reform proposal included … more

Commentary: House GOP Not Passing Senate Bill Continues Lansing Tradition Of Underfunding Pension System

Last summer, House Republicans refused to pass a Senate plan ending ability for government to create new unfunded liabilities

… contribution that pension officials estimate is … unfunded school employee pension promises. The news … another year's worth of pension promises made to current … year in the market pension investments gained 13.5 … more

June 7, 2013, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Vote Report

Votes on National Guard pensions, hunting licenses

… Bill 4664 , Allow pension double-dipping by some … simultaneously collect pension benefits and a regular … and begin collecting pension checks as young as age … Undo National Guard pension reform: Passed 91 to … more

Michigan Pensions Good at Controlling Fraud

… employees defrauding their pension systems. Thankfully, … on taxpayers. Pension plans typically offer … benefits usually include pension enhancements or looser … Michigan s two largest state pension systems, however, only … more

Teacher Pension Underfunding Hits $22B

… the school employee pension fund shows that the … and state employee pension funds' unfunded liability … payments to prefund pension benefits earned by members … voted to close the pension system to new members … more

Comparing Apples to Lemons in Pension Reform

… "normal costs" of the pension plan the amount state … every dollar earned by pensioners, a $22.4 billion … gap. The school pension fund has been a lemon. … up" on all that past pension underfunding. Specifically, … more

House Pension Reform Savings are Phony

… benefits. Unlike regular pensions, where the state attempts … earned far less on its pension funds. The larger … unlike money in regular pension funds, nothing prohibits … Senate-passed version of school pension reform does something … more

Close the State School Employee Pension Fund

… government s public school pension fund. School districts … coffers of the state pension fund, while school employees … state should close its pension fund to new employees … $60.9 billion worth of pension benefits earned by public … more

House GOP Hides Behind Rigged 'Study'

… the school employee pension system to new hires, … pattern of chronic pension underfunding. Reportedly … victory for the state Pension Industrial Complex … the school employee pension fund the amount deemed … more

Fix the Real Problem of the Pension System

… the school employee pension system is that it's … fund a defined benefit pension system. State politicians … improperly "marked to market" the pension fund's assets. This … the defined-benefit pension system, which is done … more

Two Cheers for Teacher Pension Reform Bill

… proposed school employee pension reform. However, … defined- benefit pension system, and will no … contribute more toward their pensions, or else receive benefits … the amount of past pension underfunding the state … more

Pension Obligation Bonding Bills Expected To Move

… their defined benefit pension systems is expected … Doubling-Down on Municipal Pension Dysfunctions more

The State Is Already Addressing 'Transition Costs' in School Pension Fund

… costs" when closing the pension fund and offering new … continue on in the pension system, but the university … Finds That Teacher Pension Plan Unlikely to be … Real Problem of the Pension System The … more

Pension Study Consultants Have History Defending Expensive Pension Plans

Segal Co. getting $140K to see if teachers should be switched to 401(k)-style programs

… independent study on teacher pension costs concluded previously … closing defined benefit pensions plans is a bad idea. That's … Nevada. Legislators passed a teacher pension reform bill this summer … sector. Michigan's teacher pension program is underfunded … more

Commentary: Low-Balled School Pension Contributions Kick Taxpayers in the Teeth

They've been low-balled for too many years

… the state-run school pension system (called "MPSERS"), … to pre-fund future pensions earned by all current … expect the unfunded pension liabilities to grow … (and likely current) pension underfunding, readers … more

The Public School Pension Fund’s Problem Is Not Charter Schools

… pay more. But higher pension contributions from charter … system expects to pay in pension benefits. The gap stands … district s current pension contribution, over half … members. Clearly, the pension system s primary problem … more

The Ghosts of Christmases Past

Haunted by public sector pensions

… underfunded public employee pensions in the United States … owe on these unfunded pensions is so staggering that … looking at unfunded pension costs beyond imagination. … the monstrous public pension debt or any of the other … more

Local Police Union Uses Pay Raise to Help Pay Pension Costs

East Lansing command officers association applauded 'for thinking of taxpayers'

… actuary report, the pension plan was just 75 percent … its defined benefit pension plan. That was a $921,285 … underfunding of public pensions is something people … much funding public pension plans would need. That s … more

Commentary: House GOP Halts Transformational Pension Reform; Real World Examples Disprove Their Claims

Michigan s school pension system has already imposed … understated given pension fund investment growth … analyses from state pension bureaucrats, whose position … rules because if the pension bureaucrats' interpretations … more

Are Early Retirement Incentives A Good Deal for Cities?

Not with defined-benefit retirement plans

… current operations to its pension fund, and not at a savings, … boost employee's future pension payments in exchange … of increasing future pension payouts. According to … having an "overfunded" pension system (excluding optional … more

Teacher Pension Poverty Claim Warrants Scrutiny

MEA article said teacher pensions forced retirees to live 'barely' above poverty level

… employee s annual pension. Gary Olson, a … scrutiny. The average pension for a public school … report. That annual MPSERS pension is still higher than … average U.S. government pension, according to a Congressional … more

Commentary: Pension Liabilities Larger Than Reported

Report shows that taxpayers could be on the hook for even larger pension costs than previously thought

… defined-benefit school pension system to newly hired … Michigan state government pension systems not just … current defined-benefit pension system is a lemon … just the school pension system are now projected … more

The Legislature Must Fix Teacher Pensions the Right Way

… Michigan s school employee pension system, the largest government pension fund in the state, but … long-term problem of the pension system while the House … long-term underfunding of pensions for more than 444,000 … more

MEA Charging Members Extra To Cover Retirement Liabilities For Union's Employees

While MEA fights changing state pension system, union has trouble with its own underfunding

… has a defined benefit pension plan for its employees. The … Labor. The retirement pension liability was $129 million … 2012. Michigan's pension system for teachers … more

Teacher Says She Qualifies For Food Stamps; School Salary Schedule Suggests Otherwise

Five-year teacher would make at least $41K per year with full benefits and pension

… or have to make the pension and retiree health care … contributions to the pension plan and retiree health … Year, Retires With a Pension of Over $40K Claims … Teaching' With Proposed Pension Reform Teacher … more

Teacher Made Over $80K Per Year, Retires With a Pension of Over $40K — Claims 'Violation of Trust'

Article analysis takes on educators paying 5 percent of pension costs

… to a $41,400 a-year-pension have a valid complaint … state what her annual pension would be, but reported what the average pension was for public school … her salary and the pension formula (which the story … more

Cheeseheads Agree: 401(k)s for New Hires

… government employee pension reforms. Specifically, … been hired or promised pensions yet, to 401(k)-style … officials should do if pensions and health benefits … of the Senate-passed pension reform bill that seems … more

House GOP Would Stick Taxpayers With Billions

… cases. Unlike regular pension checks, these retiree … between them and regular pensions. Under the state Constitution, … retiree s monthly pension checks are considered … underfunding of the mandated pension benefits by politicians … more

Public Employee Pension Systems Raided To Pay Film Studio Bills

Michigan teachers and state employee systems paid $1.68 million so far for Pontiac studio

… Public School Employees pension with remaining balance from three other pension funds. The State … more

June 22, 2012, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

… Authorize local pension obligation bonds : … cover unfunded employee pension liabilities if the local … defined benefit pension system to new employees. … than "defined benefit" pensions); and adopting specified … more

Critics Say Congressman McCotter Supports “Bailout” of Union Pensions

… seeks to bail out union pension funds and put taxpayers … billion in unfunded union pension liabilities," according … multi-employer union pension funds. These are pensions that cover several … more

Superintendent Makes False Claim About Her Salary, Benefits

Total compensation includes money taxpayers contribute for retirement and benefits

… salary, insurance and pension costs and does not include … retirement health care and pension, but also an extra amount … also: Public Pension System Totally Broken Politicians … Trusted To Properly Fund Pensions more

School Pension Reform Stalls in Senate

… reform public school pensions and set them more in … districts. But without pension reform, the Senate funding … lack of support for pension reform. The union is … 1227 , the school pension reform plan. He told … more

August 17, 2012, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

… 1040 , Revise school pension system: Passed 21 to … contribute more toward their pensions, or else receive benefits … close the school pension system to new hires … 1040 , Revise school pension system: Passed 57 to … more

May 18, 2012, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

… Adopt school employee pension reforms: Passed 20 to … benefit" public school pension system to new employees … contribute more toward their pensions, or else receive benefits … provision of the school pension reform bill that would … more

Pension 'Assumptions' are the Problem in Detroit, Statewide

… failure of Detroit s pension systems has been blamed … governments to pay for pensions as they are earned, … are flawed, then the pension system's performance … insufficient amounts into the pension system today. And … more

August 3, 2012, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

… 1189 : Revise government pension board rules Introduced … a local government pension board that has both … 5726 : Authorize local pension obligation bonds … cover unfunded employee pension liabilities, if the … more

July 27, 2012, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

… Bill 1147 : Allow pension double dipping by certain … collecting a school pension check while also getting … exemption for some pension income. Referred to … to revise employee pension systems Introduced … more

County's Rush to Approve New Union Contracts Could Prove Futile

Washtenaw County approved contracts with 15 unions but did not do actuarial analyses

… says that when a pension is changed, an actuarial … reads: "'[P]roposed pension benefit change' means … change the amount of pension benefits received by … persons entitled to pension benefits under the system." Patrick … more

June 15, 2012, MichiganVotes.org Weekly Roll Call

… contribute more toward their pensions, or else receive benefits … close the school pension system to new hires … more

Breaking News: House Vote Would Force Charter Schools Into Underfunded Pension System

… "defined benefits" pension system to which conventional … members lifetime monthly pension payments and health … "defined contribution" pensions, now the norm in the … workers have conventional pensions like school employees.) … more

The Unstoppable Teacher Pension Fund Monster

… reforms made to the state pension plan is necessary to … Cannot Grow Out of Pension Problems more

Bill Allowing State Nurses to Collect Pensions While Still Working Passes Overwhelmingly

… collect both their full pension payout and a salary. … on top of their full pension payout. To the extent … state's public employee pension system. The Department … already drawing a public pension to draw a second paycheck. … more

The People Mover's Pricey Pensions

… received a $14,696 pension contribution made by her … wages for employees pensions, more than double the … said Rick Dreyfuss, a pension expert and adjunct scholar … $517,852 to employee pension plans for 81 employees, … more

A Pension Perk for Political Appointees

Bills would increase monthly payments to political appointees who retire this year

… that would increase monthly pension payments by 16.7 percent … for the increased pension if the person retired … more

Engler-Era Pension Reforms Saved Billions; Teacher Pensions Not Part of Deal

… unfunded state employee pension liability from 1997 … authored by public pension expert Rick Dreyfuss. … school employees pension plan the Michigan … pays out an annual pension in retirement. The MPSERS … more

Study: State Employee Pension Reform Has Saved Taxpayers Estimated $2.3 Billion to $4.3 Billion in Unfunded Pension Liability

… unfunded state employee pension liability between 1997 … 1997 State Employee Pension Plan Reform, Mackinac … impact of the 1997 pension change and concludes … additional $167 million in pension normal costs. Taxpayers … more

Commentary: Fairness Arguments on the Pension Tax

… the ballyhoo on the pension tax, there wasn t a substantial … how the state treats pension income. Tempers flared … exemptions placed on pension income in Michigan. … change the rules on pensioners after they ve retired. … more

Beware Doubling-Down on Municipal Pension Dysfunctions

… their defined benefit pension systems, but only if … benefit government pension benefit racket could … to do so. These pension obligation bonds are … to pay for gaps in pension funding. The problem … more

The Winners and Losers in Detroit Bankruptcy

… extended to the Detroit pensioners who are facing cuts … situation. City pensioners are one of the larger … funding to cover the pensions earned in any one year. … the present value of pensions how much cash is … more

Schools Buying Bigger Pension Payouts for Employees

… will boost annual pensions. For example, … tacked on to their pension calculation at the school s … $1,500 per year in pension payments for a school … most of the bigger pension costs they are helping … more

Big Votes Coming Up In the Legislature

Health care exchange, teacher pension reform and personal property tax repeal all on the agenda

… the state's teacher pension program is underfunded … Legislature Must Fix Teacher Pensions the Right Way Commentary: … more

MichiganVotes.org June 17 Weekly Roll Call Report

… partial repeal of pension tax exemption, failed … tax exemptions for pension income. Who Voted … Amendment linking pension tax to federal "Ryan … eliminated the exemption for pension income, if the U.S. Congress … more

Analysis: Michigan Cannot Grow Out of Pension Problems

Michigan s major government pension funds are underfunded … nothing would alleviate pension problems like a few … sets aside to pay for pensions (though a small percentage … state government's pension system for public school … more

MichiganVotes.org April 29 Weekly Roll Call Report

… income tax exemption for pension income; replace the … Bill 4415 , Allow pension "double dip" for DNR … retirees to collect a pension while also being compensated … retire and collect a pension even if they return … more

Hefty School Employee Pensions Burden State Taxpayers

At 57, retiree would get $94K a year increasing to $204K a year over time

… years would earn a pension of $94,850 a year. If … retiree received a pension for the 26 years of … from an underfunded pension system, said James … The problem with the pension system is the politicians … more

Study: 'Barriers' To Public Employee Pension Reform Unfounded

School worker retirement plans are underfunded by over $17 billion

… to public employee pension plans are bankrupting … liabilities of state pension funds be addressed immediately, … address the barriers to pension reform. In particular, … from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution … more

Commentary: House GOP Still Flailing Around on Pension Reform

… would close the school pension system to new employees … teachers unions and state pension bureaucrats that if … amortization of unfunded pension liabilities. Ironically, … 10 years of serial pension-rule violations by this … more

Commentary: School Pension System Impacts Everyone’s Future

… benefits from the school pension system, including comprehensive … a year s worth of pension benefits for still-active … fix the problem in pension benefits. The state … the largest factor in pension contributions. The bill … more

Analysis: State Behind on School Employee Pension Reform

… state-run school employee pension plan. In 1996, … the first government pension systems to convert to … defined-benefit system, with pension fund contributions calculated … lifetime of future pension payments for retired … more

‘Big Oil’ Props Up Michigan’s Teacher Pensions

… Michigan s stressed public pension plans are some of the … total state government pension fund assets, yet produced … The state employee pension system was closed off … liability. The school employee pension system accounts for … more

Analysis: Michigan’s Long History of Government Pension Problems

… to reform the school pension fund in the budget last … $17.6 billion unfunded pension liability. The … state must pay for the pensions earned by employees … state can t just pay pension checks as they are due; … more

MEA Wounds Governor’s School Pension Reform

… "defined benefits" pension fund, in return for … percent early retirement pension benefit "sweetener." … version of the school pension measure, Senate Bill … underfunded traditional pension system of the regular … more

Study Finds That Teacher Pension Plan Unlikely to be Fully-Funded

Education group disputes House GOP projections

Michigan s school pension system is unlikely to … current assumptions about pension funding, according to … other school employees' pensions as they are earned, … discount most of its pension assets. The state uses … more

A Union Pension Bailout During the Lame Duck Season in Congress?

… funding the full cost of pensions for their union retirees, … bailout private union pension funds, which face a … main reasons for the pensions being under-funded … out the struggling pension funds. "Without … more

School Pensions Sucking Up Per Pupil Cash

… government's two largest pension systems offer public … biggest public sector pensions are the Michigan Public … sector companies provide pension benefits only through … payments they make for pension and retirement health … more

The $39 Billion Bill for 'One of the Best Public Pensions Around'

… following about their pension plan: As a member … of the best public pensions around . The … receive several costly pension perks that are rare … conventional defined-benefit pension, as opposed to the modern … more
Public Employee Pay

State Pension Funds: Evidence of Public Class’s Overcompensation

… state's two largest pension plans are substantially out-of-line … Michigan government offers pensions for state and school … possible to design a pension plan that is as inexpensive … contrast, the state's pension system costs taxpayers … more
Bulletin board, House Republican Communications Office

Legislative Reforms in 2013 Leave Much to be Desired

… government promises pension benefits to employees … for work and monthly pension checks. Blue … more

New Law Allows Some to Collect State Pension and a Paycheck

… collect both their full pension payout and a salary. This … top of their full pension payout. To the extent … state's public employee pension system. The Department … already drawing a public pension to draw a second paycheck. … more

April 4, 2014, MichiganVotes Weekly Vote Report

Bills on militarized police, tax assessors, topless bars

… employees 401(k), not pensions Introduced by Sen. … current defined benefit pension system to new school … more

Study Discusses Five Ways to Close State’s Badly Underfunded Public School Employee Pension Plan

Author also questions ‘transition costs’ of closing the plan and concludes legislators can disregard these at their discretion

… costs in closing the pension plan in the Michigan … mandated, while paying pension obligations is. Retiree … the school employee pension plan. Closing the plan … would still receive the pensions they have earned to … more

Bloomfield Township Kicks the Public Pension Spending Habit

… related to retiree pension and health care. The … more

Commentary: Pension Reform Bigger School Fiscal Issue Than Education Budget

… unsustainable school employee pension system. Increasing the … experience if this pension system were properly … projected increase in pension rates will have a larger … upcoming increase in pension contributions will cost … more

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