Michigan teacher pension overhaul bill could advance out of committee

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A legislative committee is poised to vote to close the pension system to newly hired school employees in Michigan and instead provide them solely a 401(k) in retirement.

The Republican-controlled Senate could pass the legislation later Wednesday and send it to the House.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System is “unsustainable” and won’t be able to finance pension benefits because of a $26.7 billion unfunded liability.

Since mid-2010, new hires have qualified for a “hybrid” plan, with a blending of a traditional pension and a 401(k). Older teachers receive a pension.

The bill is unlikely to affect current school workers or retirees.

Democrats say they’re unified against the measure. Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich says people “want more economic security, not less.”

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