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(October 2021)

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PENSION TAX FACES REPEAL

Michigan SERA Coordinating Council is strongly supporting House Bill 4002 which would partially repeal the pension tax, giving younger pensioners born after 1946 the same income tax treatment as older pensioners. The bill would eliminate the three tier age/birth-year treatment of retirement income that was adopted in 2011 and which Michigan SERA opposed all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. Moreover, the bill would allow the current deduction on private retirement income for those born before 1946 for all taxpayers 65 years and older. HB 4002 proposes an effective date of January 1, 2022.

History — In 2011 when the tax overhaul was first proposed, it would have totally eliminated all three tax breaks for seniors. We were totally blind-sided and shocked. As a result of the protests of both senior organizations and individual seniors, the GOP sponsors scaled back the proposal and set up the three-tier, age-based tax treatment. Even though it softened the impact on those born before 1946, younger seniors and pensioners were estimated by the Fiscal Agencies to have paid $528 million more in state taxes for Tax Year 2012 alone. Likely that has added up to more than $5 billion from seniors’ pockets since then. Taxable pensioners and seniors were estimated to have contributed 36% of the increased taxes on individuals yet seniors are only 13% of Michigan’s population. So from our perspective, retirees and seniors were inordinately targeted in the 2011 tax overhaul and deserve some tax relief.

Hearing — The first hearing on the bill in the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee was April 14, 2021. The bill provoked a surprisingly wide array of support and opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. No vote was taken and it sounds like more hearings are in the bill’s future. The biggest concern was replacement of the $370 million revenue loss to the state. You can watch the video of that hearing here in which bill sponsor State Rep. Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe) explains his bill and answer questions. Jonathan Byrd, Director of External Affairs for the Michigan Laborers Union, testified in support of the bill and answered questions.

Michigan SERA’s written testimony can be found here.

Take Action — We will continue to be highly engaged with this bill and urge all SERA members to contact the House Tax Policy Committee members to tell them of your support. Simply say you want to repeal the pension tax and urge passage of HB 4002. Copy and paste these email addresses of the House Tax Policy Committee members into your email program’s To space:

andrewbeeler@house.mi.gov; JulieBrixie@house.mi.gov; JulieCalley@house.mi.gov; MaryCavanagh@house.mi.gov; JimEllison@house.mi.gov; DianaFarrington@house.mi.gov; MattHall@house.mi.gov; StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov; PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov; LukeMeerman@house.mi.gov; SheldonNeeley@house.mi.gov; JackOMalley@house.mi.gov; PatOutman@house.mi.gov; MarkTisdel@house.mi.gov; tenishayancey@house.mi.gov

And contact your own State Representative or attend their coffee hours/town halls to express your support for HB 4002.

Bob Kopasz, Chair
Michigan SERA Coordinating Council

Mary Pollock
Legislative Representative


Retirement and Retiree Benefits Security During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Click here for document created by Mary Pollock, SERA’s Legislative Representative.


ANNUAL UPDATE ON MICHIGAN RETIREMENT SYSTEMS AND INVESTMENTS

Jon Braeutigam, Deputy Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer, Bureau of Investments, Department of Treasury, will present “ANNUAL UPDATE ON MICHIGAN RETIREMENT SYSTEMS AND INVESTMENTS” at a February 3, 1:30 p.m. teleconference call sponsored by the Lansing SERA. The document that he will reference in his talk can be found here.

  • Dial this number: 1-978-990-5219. (Long distance charges apply.)
  • When prompted, enter access code 206533, followed by the pound sign (#)
  • Dial in by 1:25 p.m. so the meeting can begin promptly at 1:30 p.m.
  • As soon as you are on the call, please mute your phone (press “* [star] 6” or the mute button on your phone).

About Michigan SERA

SERA is an non-profit organization devoted exclusively to issues and concerns of all current and future retirees of the State of Michigan.

SERA works to:

  • keep Michigan state employee pension and insurance benefits secure.
  • assure pension and insurance benefits are improved and keep up with inflation.
  • monitor and take action on important developments affecting state pension and retiree health care benefits.
  • inform its members about proposed federal and state legislation that will affect State of Michigan retirement systems and retiree health care.
  • stay in touch with old friends and make new friends with a common background.
  • monitor the State Employees Retirement Systems Board, the Investment Advisory Committee (which makes recommendations to the State Treasurer on investments in the State Employees Retirement System pension fund), and the 401K and 457 programs provided through Voya.
  • work with the Office of Retirement Services and Civil Service Benefits Division to help retirees and near retirees with their pension and benefits issues.
  • provide SERA PLUS, great discounts and services in many areas of retirement living such as first-year free tax preparation, estate planning, tax planning, home and auto insurance, mortgage services, estate transfer strategies, final settlement planning, and much more through SERA’s association with Hantz Group, Inc..

SERA works through its members, leaders, and committees to promote the best interests of state employee retirees and future retirees. At least eight times since 1974, SERA was a moving force in pension increases or benefit improvements. In 2011, we opposed the pension tax and helped eliminate it for 70% of retirees; we opposed the remaining tax on public pensions for those born after 1945 in the Michigan Supreme Court. We opposed the recent state employee retirement system changes. That work continues.

SERA has 21 local chapters statewide that are linked through the Coordinating Council of the State Employee Retirees Associations of Michigan (the SERA Coordinating Council). SERA chapters have periodic meetings with guest speakers, opportunities for networking, newsletters, and other activities.

SERA welcomes the new ideas and energy of new members! To join, contact Cheryl Streberger at 517-515-9815 or cstreberger@yahoo.com.

 

Join a chapter of the State Employee Retirees Association (SERA) and help protect your pension and health insurance benefits, meet old and new friends, and stay informed!

Join Michigan SERA

Join a chapter of the State Employee Retirees Association (SERA) and help protect your pension and health insurance benefits, meet old and new friends, stay informed, and gain access to SERA Plus benefits!

The Michigan State Employee Retirees Association is a non-profit organization devoted exclusively to issues and concerns of all current and future retirees of the State of Michigan.

SERA works to:

  • Keep Michigan state pension and retiree health care benefits secure and responsive to inflation.
  • Monitor and take action on important political developments affecting state pension and retiree health care benefits.
  • Inform our members about proposed federal and state legislation that will affect retirees and future retirees.
  • Watch the State Employees Retirement Systems’ Board, the Investment Advisory Committee (which make recommendations to the State Treasurer on investments in the defined benefit pension fund), and the 401(k) and 457 programs provided through Voya.
  • Work with the Office of Retirement Services and Civil Service Benefits Division to help retirees and near retirees with their pension and benefits issues.

SERA works through its members, leaders and committees to promote the best interests of current and future state retirees.

At least eight times since 1974, SERA initiated action for pension increases or benefit improvements. SERA has a lobbyist who watches legislative developments on our behalf. We helped to reduce the impact of the pension tax on public sector retirees.

SERA has 21 chapters statewide to provide you with:

  • A strong voice to protect and improve your benefits
  • Chapter meetings with interesting speakers
  • Periodic newsletter
  • A way to meet old friends and make new ones
  • Information important to retirees
  • SERA Plus discounts on services

SERA PLUS is a unique package of retirement benefits to help you protect your standard of living throughout your retirement years.

  • Free first-year tax preparation (Not valid for businesses and other restrictions may apply)
  • Discounted tax preparation in subsequent years
  • Home & auto insurance savings
  • $650 for complete estate plan including a living trust (Some estates may require other documents. Not all estates will require a living trust. Determination based on attorney’s recommendation.)
  • Free review of existing living trust documents
  • Life, health and long-term care insurance
  • Estate settlement assistance

You are eligible for SERA if you are:

  • Retired from the State of Michigan, receiving a retirement benefit from the State of Michigan, or a spouse of any living or deceased member of SERA
  • An active state employee and
    • have attained the age of 50, or
    • whose age and service totals 70 or more, or
    • on state deferred retirement.

SERA chapters always need new ideas, new energy, and especially new members. Join over 12,000 SERA members in our efforts to assure every state retiree has a voice!

New members — Call for your FREE one year membership! Contact Cheryl Streberger at 517-515-9815 or cstreberger@yahoo.com. Pay nothing now. Simply contact us now and we will explain how to obtain your first-year free membership. At the end of your complimentary year, we will mail you a renewal notice. Membership dues after the first year range from $6 to $20, depending on which chapter you join.

Renewing members — Print and then complete the membership form and send it along with your dues to the chapter you want to join. To find your nearest SERA chapter and the amount of chapter dues, meeting times and other information, please refer to the directory listing. Or e-mail your name, address, city, state, zip code, and the name of the chapter in which you are interested to: bobkopaszserachair@gmail.com.


SERA Plus

SERA is committed to providing exceptional value to its members by delivering quality products and services to our members through our SERA Plus program. Consistent with our philosophy, we are pleased to announce that insurance (including auto, home and liability), tax planning and estate planning advice will soon be offered exclusively through our relationship with Hantz Group, Inc., and its affiliates (together, “Hantz”), headquartered at 26200 American Drive, Southfield, Michigan 48034.

Our decision to offer insurance, tax planning and estate planning advice through Hantz allows us to provide you with a variety of services under one roof. Hantz Group, along with its affiliates, Hantz Tax & Business, LLC and Hantz Agency LLC to name a few, provides a comprehensive approach to your specific needs. Hantz will offer and provide its services through its 21 locations conveniently located near most of our chapters throughout Michigan.

For more information on Hantz, contact our SERA Plus program administrator, Cheryl Streberger at 517-515-9815.