A Michigan Senate committee narrowly voted last week to close the pension system to new teachers and other school employees and to instead offer them only a 401(k)-style retirement plan, despite objections from Gov. Rick Snyder.
The switch in plans, which would be similar to one made for newly hired state employees nearly 20 years ago, is favored by many Republican lawmakers as a way to address the $26.7 billion in unfunded pension liabilities facing the Public School Retirees Retirement System. That does not include another $9.3 billion in unfunded retiree health-care liabilities.
Democrats fiercely oppose the legislation and are hoping it does not gain traction in the GOP-led House or with the Republican governor, who said last week that the current hybrid system is “working.”
The full Senate shelved the measure this month until its next session.
The move would affect all school employees hired on or after July 1, 2017. Michigan would join Alaska as the only state to have closed the pension system to both newly hired school and state workers.
A version of this article appeared in the December 14, 2016 edition of Education Week as Mich. Senate Seeks to Stop Pensions for New Teachers