Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Judge Rules 3% Health Care Deduction Unconstitutional!

Yesterday Michigan Court of Claims Judge James Giddings ruled that because current teachers aren't guaranteed health care benefits when they retire, asking them to pay 3% of their pay is "arbitrary and capricious". He also went on to say that the State Legislature was unconsitutionally seizing "property" (aka, our wages)without due process.

The state is expected to appeal the ruling and as of Monday night, it was still unclear what would happen in terms of the payments that have already been taken from teacher pay. Due to a court injuntion, the payments were being held in escrow until a decision was made regarding the legality of the law. It is expected that the money will remain in escrow while the appeals process is being followed. It is not clear at this time whether the payments will continue to be deducted in the future.

This is definitely a bit of good news for teachers.

However, the rhetoric has begun in Lansing with some officials claiming they will now need to charge the schools MORE $$$ to cover retiree costs. This really is a total falsehood, as the funds deducted by the state from employee checks has NOT been going toward retiree health care at all. It has been held, as previously mentioned, in escrow pending court decisions. Earlier the state had already announced that they were charging school districts 4% more for retirement costs, bringing the total charged to schools about 24%. Again, they are just laying blame to teachers for this increase.