Michigan lawmakers look to plug the big gaping hole in government liability.
1997 was actually a good year for Michigan.
It could have been better however. It was the year that Governor Engler signed off on pension plan changes for state employees, but not including the school retirement system. For those it did affect, It adjusted the way in which pensions are funded from defined outcomes at high risk for taxpayers, to defined contribution with real ownership to the recipients.
The change to the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System saved the state an estimated $2.3 billion to $4.3 billion in unfunded state employee pension liability from 1997 to 2010, according to the report, authored by public pension expert Rick Dreyfuss.
Seven years later we are still benefiting (no pun intended) from this change.
This 20 year anniversary could well produce the finishing touch and allow Michigan to move toward a predictable liability scenario for good. School employees somehow remained outside of the course correction in 1997. House Bill 4647 and Senate Bill 0401 being nearly identical, provide the mechanism for the fix to that problem that has been long overdue.
Natural disasters, or 'states of emergency' CAN happen in our Great Lakes State.
Michigan is not immune to the effects of nature, and the SoS may have once again missed an opportunity to protect the electorate.
“Once again,” I say because when it mattered, Ruth Johnson sided with the governor in his lawbreaking. In the Proposal 1 (loser by 80%-20% statewide) leadup, the governor broke the law in front of Johnson, Schuette, and nearly every single lawmaker and judge in the state.
Nothing was done, and in-fact there was an effort to circumvent the process that had been defended only years before. Even the Michigan GOP’s pet poodle Greg McNeilly noted the infraction saying “.. it was “inappropriate” for Snyder to use the televised speech to advocate for a “yes” vote on Proposal 1.” yet stopped short of calling a misdemeanor what it is. Flame Hard indeed.
But this recent failure by the SoS is a little more local, yet profound. When a natural disaster prevents voters from reaching the polls, ought not the top elections official be a little more proactive? In the case of an Elmwood township millage question, Johnson’s office went from a failure to uphold the law to negligence and simple abject failure.