DETROIT - A phone survey commissioned by Detroit Renaissance shows that Michiganders support sweeping reform to improve the state, including reforming benefits for state employees and public school teachers, according to The Detroit News.

"Hopefully, we are reaching a point where we can drive change simply by tapping into the anger of people who don't want to live like this anymore," Renaissance board Chairman David Brandon told The News. "If people don't listen to these findings, I don't know what they'll listen to."

The Michigan Priorities Survey found that about 75 percent of those polled would support increasing health care premiums for state employees. Currently, state employees pay between 5 and 10 percent of their premiums, compared to private-sector employees who usually pay between 16 and 28 percent of their own health insurance premiums, The News reported.

Additionally, about 74 percent support an overhaul of retirement benefits for teachers. Michigan teachers receive a defined pension, which requires districts to pay a specific amount each year. Citizens called for a 401(k)-type system for new teachers, according to The News.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "Survey: Reform state now," Aug. 7, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Growing number of districts seek solutions to costly health insurance," Dec. 15, 2005

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