Mackinac in the News: Mackinac Experts Cited in Pension Reform Debate

The Mackinac Center’s message that teacher pension reform is vital for educators, students and taxpayers was carried by Michigan’s top media outlets as lawmakers debated and ultimately passed the transformative legislation.

“Each year, more and more education funding is held hostage by our broken pension system,” Mackinac Center’s James Hohman told MLive. Hohman, the Center’s director of fiscal policy, continued, “So I’m glad to see a group of legislators is willing to do the hard work now to ensure school funding gets where it’s intended.”

The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, WNEM-TV, Crain’s Detroit Business, Midland Daily News and many others turned to the Mackinac Center for research on the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System and solutions on how to prevent its underfunding in the future. In an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal, Policy Analyst Jarrett Skorup explained how union release time will put taxpayers on the hook for retiring MEA President Steve Cook’s pension, estimated to be $115,871 annually.

Various publications also covered the Mackinac Center’s presence at the Mackinac Policy Conference, hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber and independent of the Mackinac Center. The Detroit News listed Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman as one of the notable individuals in attendance, listing him among Gov. Rick Snyder and Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System.

Several outlets reported on Lehman’s idea, unveiled at the conference, to allow lawmakers to vote remotely as a means of restoring public trust in government. The chamber’s magazine, Detroiter, covered his participation on a panel about solving Michigan’s opportunity gap.

“We have to decide whether the way to help the most people is to nudge more of them into one-size-fits-all solutions or remove the barriers that have accreted over the years in failed attempts to help people,” Lehman said. He went on to recommend reforming the state’s restrictive occupational licensing laws that keep many out of the workforce.

The Huffington Post, Bridge Magazine, IndyStar, Associated Press, Michigan Chronicle, Holland Sentinel and Michigan Public Radio were among the outlets that quoted or cited the Mackinac Center and its work in recent months.