Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Steele: Hands off teacher pensions
RELEASE|March 6, 2024
Contact: Donni Steele

State Rep. Donni Steele is condemning Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to raid the teacher pension system – a move that threatens to underfund educators’ retirement benefits. Responsible budgeting by past Republican administrations resulted in the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) system nearing 100 percent funding. However, the Michigan Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System (MPSERS) remains drastically underfunded by over 24 billion dollars.

“Teachers do so much work teaching future generations about the importance of paying off debt and not making frivolous purchases when you don’t have the money,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “Those same teachers who work tirelessly to teach kids to live within their means now have to watch as their state government leverages their retirement accounts to fund unnecessary initiatives and programs.”

The governor’s proposal would redirect $670 million away from the teacher retirement system to bankroll policy overcommitments while MPSERS stays underfunded by roughly $24.4 billion. If the state continues to pay this debt, it will still take until 2038 to pay off. The process could be expedited if the regular OPEB payment is redirected into MPSERS pensions.

“The governor needs to realize it is woefully irresponsible to continue her spending spree for new programs while our educators’ pension system is still on life support,” Steele said. “Our teachers work hard and deserve the peace-of-mind that their retirement benefits are available when they need them. MPSERS is still $24 billion in debt. The governor needs to stop spending and start paying off debt for the posterity put forth by past Republican leadership. Once our debt is paid, we can invest future payments into infrastructure like roads and the electric grid that will leave a much more lasting impact.”


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