Employee Retirement Package Stalled in House

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

Vote after vote, the House chamber could not come to an agreement.

"Currently, there have been 33 drafts," says Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-DeWitt, who voted against the bill.

Representatives took up their own version of the state employee retirement package on Wednesday -- a bill the senate already passed.

"The only difference was I removed the 3% contribution," says Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing, "I've said before that I think that's something that needs to be decided at the bargaining table if we're going to balance the budget."

So, Rep. Meadows says state employees would only be looking at a 1.6 multiplier. In total, it would save the state nearly $50 million. But some legislators in the house say that's not enough.

"The original senate version saved $800 million," says Opsommer. "And that's the kind of savings we need."

But Ray Holman of UAW Local 6000 says state employees will not stand for a paycut.

"We saved the state $750 million," says Holman. "Year after year, we've given concessions."

Holman says cutting salaries without consulting employees would be a breach of collective bargaining. He says the action will be challenged in court if it gets that far.

"We have done our part to help the state," Holman says.

All details aside, legislators say they're racing against the clock.

"We need to pass something to have an incentive to retire, to shrink the state force and to save money," says Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "The money simply isn't there to continue."

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