LANSING — State Representative Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) expressed her strong opposition to Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to appeal a Court of Appeals ruling that would return a 3 percent retirement health care contribution to teachers and other public school employees. This court decision would return more than $550 million withheld from school employees’ paychecks to fund the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). Pagan called on the governor to re-evaluate his decision and end his appeal immediately.
“Our teachers and school employees were simply following the law when 3 percent of their paychecks were diverted to a retirement savings account,” Pagan said. “This final court decision proves that the money was illegally taken from our hardworking educators and public school employees, and it is deplorable that Gov. Snyder would want to challenge this decision. This unnecessary attack on school employees has gone on for five years too long, and the state has lost every step of the way. It is time that we stand up for these hardworking and dedicated individuals and return the money that they fairly earned.”
In 2010, a law went into effect that would require school employees to contribute 3 percent of their pay to retiree health benefits. Soon after, a lawsuit was filed arguing that the law violated state and federal constitutional protections. The money that was withheld from the paychecks of teachers and school employees between the years of 2010-2013 is being held in an escrow account. It currently exceeds $550 million. In a June 7 ruling, the state Supreme Court stated the money was collected unconstitutionally and should be returned to teachers and other employees who paid into the system.
“This is the state’s third loss in the case, and enough is enough,” Pagan said. “Even our attorney general has said he would not help with this process, and I vehemently urge Gov. Snyder end his appeal.”