EAST LANSING – MEA President Paula Herbart blasted the so-called “pensions for potholes” scheme today, and urged public school employees across the state to raise their voices to oppose the risky shell game.
By many accounts, including by some conservative economists like Patrick Anderson, the reckless road funding scheme is irresponsible. Raiding pension funds for road fixes could undermine the retirement of hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents, drive the state deeper into debt, and saddle taxpayers with massive future costs.
At the Michigan Education Association’s Summer Conference this afternoon, Herbart delivered the following remarks to members in attendance regarding the state budget and MEA’s official position opposing efforts to dip into public school employee retirement funds to fix the roads:
“Gov. Whitmer has proposed a budget that puts an additional half billion dollars into education – and uses a new weighted funding formula that ensures we’re putting extra resources where we need it most. We need to make school funding a priority and stop playing shell games with our students’ future.
“The most pressing shell game we need to stop is the risky scheme to use our pensions to fix potholes.
“Let me be crystal clear. MEA will oppose any efforts to bond, borrow, delay payments, re-amortize or otherwise underfund our pension system to pay for road repairs.
“All these amount to the same thing – schemes that put the health of our pension system at risk for current and future school retirees.
“We’ve already made headway outlining the consequences of some of these ill-advised schemes, especially the Las Vegas-inspired concept of bonding unfunded pension liabilities to gamble on the stock market.
“We’re explaining to everyone – on both sides of the aisle – the flaws of all these similar concepts that divert money from pensions for other purposes.
“Together, we can stop this threat on our pensions and get the education funding our students deserve.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-896-4465