Proposition 2: Not Wanted
On November 6th the people of Michigan will go to polls and vote whether to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution or allow Michigan’s legislature to retain control of its state. The simple fact is that Proposition 2 will give Big Labor free reign over a range of issues and will allow them to essentially veto anything they don’t like. According the Mackinac Institute, Proposition 2 could potentially cost the taxpayers of Michigan billions in savings. Current laws that could be affected include:
• Health insurance premium sharing. Recent legislation protects taxpayers from paying lavish government employee health insurance premiums. The law includes cost-caps, or a maximum taxpayer liability of 80 percent.
• Public school employee pension reforms. Recently passed legislation includes a cost-shift from employers to employees in the school pension fund. These shifts will save taxpayers $312 million in the first year, according to an analysis by the House Fiscal Agency. Under Prop 2, any changes in retirement benefits could be negotiated away in collective bargaining.
• Emergency manager law. An emergency manager can request from the Department of Treasury that union collective bargaining agreements be amended under specified criteria. If Prop 2 passes, emergency managers would be denied this option. Reports from the Treasury show that the amendments to CBAs requested by emergency managers in Flint, Pontiac and Detroit Public Schools have already saved taxpayers $100 million.
• State employee pension system reforms. Last year, the state required its employees to contribute more money to cover the cost of their own pension and retiree health care, benefits largely unavailable in the private sector. According to an analysis by the House Fiscal Agency, this increased responsibility is expected to save taxpayers $82 million and $56 million annually for retiree health care and pension benefits, respectively. While these reforms are currently subject to ongoing litigation, under Prop 2 these taxpayer savings would be automatically nullified through collective bargaining.
Voting for Proposition 2 is not only bad for Michigan but it sets a dangerous precedent that other states could begin to follow. If Big Labor is given unchecked power, state governments will powerless in implementing fiscally responsible reforms that have been so effective in states like Wisconsin and New Jersey. It’s not too late for the people of Michigan to stop this potential catastrophe, but time is running out.