Snyder Proposes to Cut Employee Benefits and Wages

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Rick Snyder ran some of his economic plans up the flag pole today. The biggest one would cut back on state employee benefits. He wants to get them more in line with the benefits private sector workers get. The state employee unions think they've already made their share of sacrifices.

"We have already done our part to balance the state budget," said legislative liason Ray Holman of UAW 6000.

In the last 7 years, state employees have cut more than 7 hundred and fifty million in wages and benefits. They say there is no room to cut anymore.

"People think we have Cadillac benefits but we don't," said Holman.

Snyder plans to restructure some state programs to be more efficient. The Michigan Economic Development Program has one president, 10 vice presidents, a chief financial officer and a director. It is an area Snyder says can expect changes. These reforms from the top down are changes the state employees union can agree with.

"We need more people doing the work. So if he's talking to make the state department more efficient, we'd like to partner with him," said Holman.

Snyder says municipalities will likely have to make large fundamental reforms.

"The state level has made cuts. But the municipalities haven't made any reforms," said Rep. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge.

All parties agree, the state is facing financial crisis with a projected $1.6 billion deficit for next year.

"Not everyone will be happy but we have a choice, massive tax increases or reforms," said Rep. Jones.

Snyder says he plans to "talk to the people" to decide the best way to reform. He plans to have a two-year budget by next June.


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