Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Markkanen: Gov. Whitmer can’t spend teacher retirements like a personal allowance
RELEASE|April 18, 2024

State Rep. Greg Markkanen on Thursday pledged to protect educators’ retirement accounts as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer threatens to raid the teacher pension system. Responsible budgeting by past Republican leadership resulted in the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) system, which provides retiree health insurance, nearing 100 percent funding. However, the Michigan Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System (MPSERS), which provides teacher pensions, remains drastically underfunded by over 24 billion dollars.

Markkanen noted that the teacher shortage in Michigan is likely caused by a cyclical series of bad decision-making. Politicians boost benefits for state employees when recruitment numbers are low, only to raid those same benefit systems when the investments are overperforming and the systems appear fully funded. Then, when markets inevitably crash, benefits are slashed to make up for massive deficits.

“Gov. Whitmer knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s the longest-serving elected politician in state government, so she’s seen this carnival ride before,” Markkanen said. “She dutifully contributed to her retirement for over 20 years, resulting in more than $2 million in retirement savings paid for by Michigan taxpayers. Compound interest and consistent investment pay off. But when it comes to other people’s money, she has no interest in making sacrifices today to plan for the future. She’s term-limited. She won’t be around when the bills come due.”

The governor’s proposal would redirect $670 million away from the teacher retirement system to bankroll her pet projects while MPSERS stays underfunded by roughly $24.4 billion.


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