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Governor Signs Pension Law as Court Battle Looms

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The return of children to classrooms on Tuesday coincided with Governor Rick Snyder approving some big changes to how teachers will save for retirement.

Supporters say the overhaul will put Michigan in the forefront of efforts to get teacher pension costs under control. But teachers unions say a lot of the projections about deficits in the system are exaggerated. They say that’s an excuse to enact changes that will cost school employees a lot of money. They’ve filed a lawsuit to block the law.

Governor Snyder says he’s not surprised by the litigation, but the new plan was carefully crafted to comply with the law and with teachers’ contracts.

“So I think we’ll be fine from the judicial point of view, although I would expect a number of challenges that will go through the normal process,” he says.

The governor also says the state will file a legal challenge to a court ruling that struck down a plan to withhold a portion of school employees’ paychecks to pay for retirement health care.

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