For too long, this state had people at the helm that followed the “Do as I say, not as I do” philosophy. Look where it got us. As I reflect on the hardships the state has endured the past eight years, I am reminded of a saying: “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” Michigan needs leaders.
Thanks to Gov. Rick Snyder, we have a clear and reasonable roadmap for getting Michigan back on the road to economic recovery. His sensible plan calls for a shared sacrifice to bring state spending back under control.
I believe that legislators should lead by example. That’s why I sponsored Senate Bill 26, which will save the state roughly $5 million a year by eliminating lifetime benefits for state lawmakers. This obscene benefit should be done away with immediately. No one should receive lifetime benefits after only doing their job for six years.
I’m also working on a measure that would require all senators, representatives and the governor to pay 20 percent of their health care costs. If we are going to ask others to pay more toward their benefits, then we need to do so as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Gov. Snyder’s budget team has called for school employees to pay 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance. Currently, I pay about 7.6 percent for my health care benefits. It’s only fair that senators and representatives pay the same amount.
Additionally, at the beginning of this year Michigan senators and representatives took a 10 percent pay cut and our retirement packages have been changed to 401k plans.
The Senate is also leading by example in the search for cost savings. There has been a reduction in Senate office allotments and the number of employees each senator has on staff.
We can no longer continue kicking the can down the road. It’s time to face the facts and do what’s best for the state of Michigan and the hard-working taxpayers who call it home.
I hope my colleagues in the Senate and House support these vital measures and approve them quickly.