We still don’t know the substance of a coming attack on the school employee pension system, but we know it’s coming – and we’ve also learned Republican leaders plan to move quickly once legislation is introduced.
That means we need to be quicker.
We need to start calling and emailing state House and Senate lawmakers NOW to oppose this latest effort.
Closing off new employees to a defined benefit system would cost billions of dollars, leave dedicated educators without a secure retirement, and worsen the growing teacher shortage.
We’ll have a better chance of defeating plans to dismantle MPSERS if we stay on message and share individual stories. Put the arguments above into your own words. Tell your story, and share what’s happening in your family, your town, your region, the state of Michigan. Do it today!
Rumored plans under discussion in both the House and Senate would move all new public school hires into a 401(k)-style plan – a change that billionaire business leaders and Republican lawmakers like to say will save the state money.
In reality, it would cost up to $3.8 billion over the next five years, with no potential savings realized for at least 30 years, according to the state’s own financial projections. Leaders in both chambers right now are searching for $500 million that would be needed this year alone to pay for this change.
Closing defined-benefit retirement plans in favor of less secure 401(k)-style systems does not save money, according to the National Institute for Retirement Security. In West Virginia, the move proved so costly that officials had to reverse course some 15 years later.
In general, states that close pensions and shift new employees to defined-contribution plans pay millions more per year because they have destabilized the old system and then provided weakened retirement security for the dedicated public school professionals who care for and educate our children every day, according to the Institute’s research.
We already have a shortage of educators, caused by stagnant pay, crumbling benefits, and constant attacks on the profession. Fewer young people are graduating from teacher preparation colleges. We’re facing a crisis in Michigan and across the U.S. that could rob children of the high-quality educators they deserve.
Why would the best and brightest young people enter a profession that requires high levels of education, work, and skill if it means they won’t be able provide for their own families and futures?
Call or email your representatives and senators today, and open a dialogue. Ask them – Why the rush? Shouldn’t you take time to study the costs and impacts of such an important change? Where will the money come from this year? In coming years? Will educators have a chance to testify about this legislation?
How will we attract and retain the best talent when we’re not willing to provide basic levels of income and security they deserve?
Most importantly, DON’T begin a conversation with a lawmaker by being combative or by simply saying, “Keep your hands off my pension.” Political leaders won’t listen to that argument, because they believe their plans will only affect new hires. You have to show them the bigger picture.
We’ve been here before, and won. We can do it again – let’s grab this opportunity to organize grassroots opposition to bad state policies aimed at weakening public education. Make your calls. Write your emails. And get your allies – parents and community leaders – involved.