The Public Employee Benefits Reform Council of Michigan affirms that public servants work hard, make valuable contributions to our state, and deserve a good standard of living in retirement, but the bottom line is that the retirement benefits many of them are receiving are simply unaffordable. The numbers cannot justify a large pension with low contributions, an early retirement age, and generous health benefits. If our state and local governments continue to provide benefits they cannot afford, they will give away our children's future in this state. In order to provide reasonable retirement packages that are affordable, our thinking needs to be guided by a few principles:
1. A benefit received in retirement needs to be supported by contributions that were made during employment
2. Employers and employees should share responsibility for making these contributions
3. A significant amount of both time and money are needed to make a reasonable pension affordable
4. The cost of health benefits is unpredictable and its status as a retirement benefit should be reconsidered
We believe that if these things are taken into consideration, public employees can receive quality retirement benefits that our government can sustain. By accomplishing this, we are building a better future for Michigan.
Please go to our news page to see current articles addressing the pension issue.
Things that don’t make sense can’t go on forever. We need municipalities to revise employee benefits and help them understand that you cannot:
- Perpetually spend more than you bring in and commit future generations to pay costs for employees that are working now. The idea that a municipality has a tail committment to cover healthcare costs for an employees lifetime is just no longer a viable concept.
Things can go on longer than they should, and these probably have, but eventually there’s a price to be paid. We are now paying that price in layoffs and cutbacks in services. We need to make sure we really understand the causes of the problems and fix them rather than applying a band-aid to address the problem. Our goal is to promote long term solutions.
Learn more about how we can reform retirement benefits to build a better future on our Five Points page.
To see a few examples of pension plans that we think need reform, see our Expensive Plans page.
To see what a sustainable pension system might look like, look at our Model Plan.
We understand that public employee pensions and health care benefits are very complicated issues. These benefits are the result of contract negotiations, and there are as many different contracts and retirement plans as there are cities, townships, and counties. Many of these plans are well-funded and offer reasonable benefits, while many others are headed down an unsustainable path. Our goal is not to paint them all with the same broad brush. Rather, our goal is simply to inform the public and raise awareness of the problems that many of these plans are facing across the state.