Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Write or Call Your Michigan Senator TODAY!!!

REPORT FROM OUR MEA LOBBYIST, DAVE STAFFORD! There are TWO bills that threaten your pay and benefits!!!!

PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATOR NOW. URGE HER/HIM TO VOTE NO ON SB 1227 IF IT COMES BEFORE THE SENATE. (Addresses and phone numbers are at the bottom of this post).

THIS BILL IS ON A FAST TRACK AND WE NEED ACTION NOW. Yesterday, the Retirement sub-committee of the Senate Appropriations Committee moved the school employee retirement bill, SB 1227 to the full Appropriations Committee with some changes. We expect the full Appropriations Committee to move it to the floor of the Senate for fast action either today or tomorrow.

As it now stands, the bill provides:
1. The increased pension multiplier for folks who retire between July 1 and September 1, 2010 IS ELIMINATED AS IN GONE, KAPUT, NULLIFIED. In this version of the Senate bill, there is not a sweetener to get people to retire early.
2. The punitive elimination of dental and vision coverage for those who retire after September 1, 2010 is still in the bill.
3. The outrageous increase of 3% of salary to pay for the mis-management and under funding of the pension by the State is still in the bill.
4. The cap of 30 years on earned service credit is still in the bill.
5. The “hybrid” pension plan for new hires is still in the bill although the Senate version changes the minimum retirement age in the plan to 60 (the Governor proposed the age at 65).

The State Budget Office estimates that this bill will cost school employees/retirees $3.52 BILLION over the next 10 years or an average of $352.5 million per year. The breakdown on these new charges to school employees is:
1. The retirement contribution of 3% of pay (really a new payroll tax) will be an average of $242.8 Million per year
2. The cost of eliminating dental and vision benefits will be an average of $20.6 Million per year.
3. The cost of capping earned service credit at 30 years is an average of $47.9 Million per year
4. The cost of putting new employees into the “hybrid” plan is an average of $41.0 Million per year.

This huge shift of the employer’s liability onto the backs of school employees is one reason to vote NO.

Also, in these days of ever increasing demands on school employees (AYP, RTTT, mandatory curriculum, etc., etc.) it does not make sense to punish school employees with these draconian cuts and cost shifts.

We have received word that the full Senate intends to discharge SB 1046 and SJR P (Senate Joint Resolution) from the Reform Committee to the full Senate. SB 1046 is the bill limiting public employers to paying no more than 80% of health care premiums for employees. SJR P is a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize the State to do this.

Please call your senator and urge her/him to vote NO on these two proposals if they come u for a vote.

Tell you senator to vote NO on these bills. USE PHRASES FROM ABOVE to help you with your message!

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop
Phone: 517-373-2417
Fax: 517-373-2694

State Senator Nancy Cassis
Phone: 517-373-1758
Fax: 517-373-0938

State Senator Gilda Jacobs
Phone: 517-373-7888
Fax: 517-373- 2983