California Looks to Current Workers' Pensions for Savings
By Melissa Maynard, Staff Writer
TAXING PENSIONS: Meanwhile, Michigan and Hawaii are considering controversial proposals that would tax previously exempt pension benefits. Governor Rick Snyder's proposal in Michigan would raise about $900 million to help close a $1.4 billion deficit, the Detroit News reports . The state currently exempts all public pensions from income tax, as well as private pensions of up to $90,240 for joint filers. The governor claims that his proposal isn't in jeopardy, but ten Republicans in the Senate have said they won't support it, which would leave him short of the majority necessary to pass it. In Hawaii, taxing pensions is a key part of Governor Neil Abercrombie's budget proposal, but a House committee doesn't want to go quite as far as Abercrombie, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports ; it raised the income thresholds at which the tax would kick in before passing the bill out of committee on Tuesday.
BARGAINING COOL-DOWN: Amidst the continuing uproar in Wisconsin , a number of Republican governors have gone on the record stating that they do not plan to take a cue from Governor Scott Walker and curtail collective bargaining rights for public workers. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who had previously signaled an interest in pursuing changes to state labor laws, including some currently under consideration by the legislature, is the most recent such governor to indicate that he would like to leave most bargaining rights intact. He distanced himself from the battle in Wisconsin in a recent interview with the Associated Press : "The situation is different at all levels," he said. "Wisconsin has got a much worse situation." Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and New Jersey 's Chris Christie also have expressed an interest in working through the bargaining process to achieve concessions from public workers, rather than going after the process itself, the way Walker has.