Senate Bill 1040 — Adopt school employee pension reforms: Passed 20-18 in the Senate. To close the current "defined benefit" public school pension system to new employees hired starting in 2013, and instead give them 401(k) accounts with employer contributions equal to 4 percent of salary. New hires also would no longer be eligible for retirement health insurance benefits, but instead would get extra contributions into their 401(k) accounts. Current retirees would have to pay 20 percent of the cost for their health benefits, up from 10 percent now. Current school employees would have to contribute more toward their pensions, or else receive benefits calculated under a less generous formula.
Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive: Y
Senate Bill 1040 — "Prefund" school retiree health benefits: Failed 18-20 in the Senate.
Amendment offered by Sen. Gretchen Whitmer to strip out a provision of the school pension reform bill that would end post-retirement health insurance benefits for new employees hired starting in 2013, and instead make annual contributions sufficient to prefund these benefits (which under current law are optional). Reportedly, the annual prefunding amount would be around $500 million. Last year, providing these optional benefits to current retirees cost $795 million.
Sen. Arlan Meekhof: N
Senate Bill 939 — Give special treatment to firms submitting to “environmental leader” process: Passed 26-12 in the Senate. To give certain businesses special treatment in awarding state contracts, eligibility for government subsidies, environmental permit and inspection mandates, and more, if the firm submits itself to a government “environmental leader” designation process. This would require a company to demonstrate that it has no outstanding permit violations or serious past ones, adopt certain practices not required by law, submit to certain additional reporting mandates, participate in “workshops,” etc.
Sen. Arlan Meekhof: Y
Senate Bill 127 — Vehicle trade-in “sales tax on the difference” only: Passed 37-1 in the Senate. To exempt from sales tax the value of a trade-in on the purchase of a new motor vehicle or titled watercraft. The buyer would only pay tax on the difference between the value of the trade-in and the purchase price of the new item. The tax cut would be phased in biannual installments through the end of 2017.
Sen. Arlan Meekhof: Y
House Bill 5477 — Revise corporate subsidy program details: Passed 97-12 in the House. To increase from 15 percent to 25 percent a cap on the overhead expenses allowed for recipients under certain "Michigan Strategic Fund" corporate subsidy programs. Also, to require subsidy deals to contain more specific "claw-back" provisions requiring repayment of subsidies if specified job creation, commercialization, or other metrics are not met, details of which would be on the public record and subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Finally, the bill would authorize investments or loans of taxpayer dollars to "micro-enterprise lenders."
Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville: N
Rep. Amanda Price, R-Holland: Y
Source: MichiganVotes.org, a free and nonpartisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise and plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate.