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Instead of Destroying Teacher Pensions, Lansing GOP Should Fix the Roads

New legislation hurts students, costs taxpayers billions, doesn’t fix roads

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today commenting on new legislation introduced by a handful of Lansing Republicans that will destroy pensions for Michigan’s teachers and school employees.

“This is one of the dumbest ideas to come out of Lansing in a long time,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “The key to a good job is a good education. We should be doing everything we can to attract the best and the brightest people to careers in public education, to help our kids get the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs.

“But this bill does the exact opposite. It will cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and it will completely destroy pensions for new teachers, bus drivers, and librarians, leaving them without access to the most efficient and secure method of saving for retirement. That’s great news for the CEOs on Wall Street, but it’s bad for students, bad for parents, and bad for taxpayers.

“Republicans in Lansing are deeply divided on this issue, and for good reason. As former Sen. Roger Kahn explained, ‘There is no way to close the pension plan and provide a similar benefit without also costing the state a heck of a lot more money.’ He’s right, and his fellow Republicans should listen.

“But let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. Republicans in the legislature are getting enormous pressure from wealthy corporate donors like the DeVos family, who would rather take pensions away from teachers than pay their fair share to improve our schools or fix our roads and bridges. Republicans would be wise to listen to Sen. Kahn and reject this legislation. Instead, they should just focus on fixing the damn roads.”

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