Booher: School employee retirement reform needed to reduce school costs, ensure stability of system

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LANSING? Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, issued the following statement Wednesday after the Legislature finalized reforms to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, known as MPSERS:

“I am pleased that we were able to take the first major step to solving a problem that was already affecting our schools and jeopardized the entire retirement system of our teachers.

“The MPSERS system has an unfunded liability of nearly $50 billion – larger than the entire state budget – and was getting worse each day.

“The cost of the unsustainable system was already having an effect on the classroom, with school contributions to MPSERS accounting for an average of 24 percent of a school’s payroll. Without action, that contribution was going to increase to 27 percent this coming school year and was estimated to reach as much as 40 percent within a decade.

“I supported the MPSERS reforms because I was elected to help solve our state’s problems, not sit idly by and watch an important retirement system drive itself off a cliff. Doing nothing would have been an irresponsible and reckless choice.

“Today’s action will reduce school costs, ensure more dollars go into the classroom to teach our children and make sure the system is there for the thousands of school employees currently relying on it and those counting on it to be there when they retire.”

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