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White smoke from the Capitol as governor and Republican leaders make deal

Flickr User Rodrigo Denúbila

Teacher retirement changes are moving through the legislature again. This time with the governor on board and a committee hearing scheduled for early Wednesday.

The governor has been brought back into budget and teacher retirement negotiations.

While some changes may be made to budgets that have already passed through conference committees, the spotlight will be on the new teacher retirement bills.

Speaker of the House, Tom Leonard says the current retirement plan has put the state into debt.

“As we look down the road, the biggest cost is continuing to dig this hole. And what this plan does is ensure that we will no longer dig this hole. We will stop the digging.”

Leonard says teachers should like the new plan.

“This is going to give them a much better defined contribution option. It’s going to give them a retirement that’s going to be portable, one that they can take with them. One of my biggest gripes about the current system, how it affects teachers, is this ten year vesting.”

Governor Rick Snyder supports the new plan and says they will also have a strong budget.

“This is teamwork. This is a lot of good teamwork from a lot of staff people and a lot of members and a lot of people from the administration all working together in partnership.”

The proposed retirement plan would give new teachers two options. One is a 401-K with up to a 7 percent match. The other is a new, less generous option than the state’s current hybrid plan. It would include a pension and 401K, but the pension would cost teachers more than it currently does.