The Manhattan Institute last year commissioned polls in a number of states on public attitudes regarding government workers. One of the questions dealt directly with an issue the Michigan Legislature will face during a one-day session scheduled for Aug. 15: closing the school pension system to new employees, and instead giving them generous 401(k) contributions.

Here’s what 400 Michigan voters were asked about the issue in a poll conducted by Douglas E. Schoen, LLC between Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, 2011, and what they thought:

Do you favor or oppose moving all new public employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan?

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

TOTAL FAVOR: 51 percent

TOTAL OPPOSE: 36 percent

Strongly favor: 30 percent

Somewhat favor: 20 percent

Strongly oppose: 19 percent

Somewhat oppose: 17 percent

Not sure: 13 percent

The Michigan Senate has already voted for a bill to do what the majority in this poll supported — to close the “defined-benefit” school pension system to new employees (Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"). The Michigan House has voted instead to keep enrolling new school employees into a somewhat less generous defined-benefit pension system (Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No")

Michigan taxpayers are currently on the hook for $27.8 billion in unfunded school and state government employee pension liabilities, an amount that increased $6.1 billion in just the last year and $12.7 billion in two years. Under the Senate-passed pension reform bill, no new long-term taxpayer liabilities would be created when new school employees are hired. Under the House-passed version, every new hire creates new long-term taxpayer liabilities. Based on the state’s record of chronic pension underfunding, the likelihood is high that these, too, will eventually become unfunded liabilities.

~~~~~

Related Articles:

Reitz on Overcriminalization

July 15, 2016 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

More Michigan Cities Meeting Financial Needs

Close MPSERS to Stretch Dollars Further

Closing School Retirement System the Right Choice

Oklahoma Shows Pension Reform Can Boost a State's Credit Rating