Governor and house republicans find agreement on budget hold-up

The MEA has been fighting plans that would move new teacher into a 401(k) style plan, and away from pensions. That's why the union is worried about an agreement between governor Rick Snyder and house republicans.

Doug Pratt of the MEA says he wants to wait until he knows what it looks like before he comments.

The governor's office says there will still be a choice for teachers.

"One thing they've agreed on now is that there's still a choice that school employees have, whether to go into a 401(k) or to remain with the current system," says Anna Heaton of the governor's office, "so that's something they're all agreeing on right now."

It took about a week of house republicans holding out on budget negotiations with the governor before he came to the table.

Heaton says "the number one thing that is really important to him right now is not leaving office and leaving a hole in the budget or a shortfall that future legislatures have to make up."

For that to happen, governor Snyder wants to make sure every box is checked.

"He just wants to make sure it's sustainable," explains Heaton, "there's a transition cost with changing to a new system, and that would take place over ten to 20 years and so he just wants to make sure there's money built into the budget."

That could mean a down payment of around half a billion dollars in an effort to fix a 30 billion dollar long-term problem.

"There's a lot of math that needs to be done as far as making sure that the retirement system is intact so school employees don't see future cuts to their benefits," says Heaton.

That's why the governor isn't backing a system that eliminates pensions entirely.