LANSING (WWJ) – Some developing news on the state budget front:  WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants to tax private pensions, for the first time ever, as part of his budget plan. 

Skubick stressed that these are private pensions, not public pensions. 

State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, who said her 97-year old grandmother depends on her private pension, called the plan a “bad idea.”

“She’s very worried about it — grew up in the depression. So, you know, I think that this kind of a change will create a lot of consternation among our elderly,” Whitmer said.

According to Skubick,  Macomb County Republican Jack Brandenburg called the idea “political suicide.”

Governor Snyder unveils his budget on Thursday.  Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and for complete coverage. (More on this story).

Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, WWJ Newsradio 950 opened up our Listener Line to your comments.

“Not a good idea. This government infrastructure isn’t worth hanging onto anymore. I think they should just shut it down, instead of stripping everybody’s financial where for all,” said one caller.

“I think it would be a very horrible idea. I think that’s like saying that people who’ve worked all their lives for a living and paid taxes all their lives for a living should get punished. So, if this is the way this new governor wants to start off his regime, then I guess we need another new governor,” said another WWJ listener.

What do you think? Comment below.

Comments (59)
  1. eric1949 says:

    Once Governor Snyder cracks the private sector, he’ll get the public pensioners. This is another calculated attempt to destroy the middle class. When you eliminate the middle class guess who votes and who doesn’t? Poor people (for the sake of argument) usually don’t vote. Michigan will end up with a plutocracy under Governor Snyder and that isn’t goofy!

    1. Donna B says:

      Many retirees stay in Michigna because their pension is not taxed. Tax pensions and many retirees will move out of state – along with all their spending and savings

      1. Mikey says:

        My Sentiment Exactly! I’ll move out of the State in a Heartbeat, taking my pension and savings to spend where it is treated kindly. There goes the State of Michigan’s GDP, contracting some more.

        Here’s to Gray Power.

      2. Kalepe says:

        I agree! We’ve already lost many young adults who have left the state to look for employment. If this goes into effect we’ll lose the seniors, too. Pretty soon we won’t have anyone left in the state.

      3. Joe says:

        B.S. Where will you move to? One of the 47 other states that tax pension income? Get real.

    2. S. Lowry says:

      He better find a different way to get money. This will encourage people to leave this state, myself included

  2. Diane Pichan Hansbro says:

    Way to go Snyder! You can’t find a better way to dig this state out of the debt Granholm created? You have to tax the pension plans of those who are on fixed incomes? What in the name of heaven are you thinking? My husband turns 65 in December and loses his Ford healthcare because he was a salaried employee, which means we have to spend more of our ‘fixed’ income for supplemental insurance, medicare is going to take a hit, and you want to tax our pensions. What do you expect us to live on? If you, our local senator and house rep go forward with this, rest assured that there will be an extraordinary effort on our part to boot you all out of office the first chance we get. What you’re doing is handing the governorship back over to the Dems! You’re a blooming idiot!

  3. jack heady says:

    ditto,ditto,ditto to DIANES COMMENTS,YOU PEOPLE ARE NUTS1

  4. Ronaldo says:

    Well, I wonder what would have happened if this had been the sentiment in WW I and II – a sense of “shared” responsibility for the common good – while I don’t like it, society has become rather selfish over the years

    1. Dave says:

      A lot of those people are the one’s who made that sacrifice! I think they have paid there dues.

  5. Larry says:

    We will take our pension and investments out of local insitutions if this goes through as we head far, far, away from this state. This will be the BACKFIRE heard around the political world!!! If Michigan is no longer going to be friendly to seniors, then Good bye Ricky Slider!!!

  6. Jan says:

    I know something has to be done in this state, but why on the backs of the already low income people. You know I’ve worked hard all my life and saved as much as I could….for what to give it all back to the government. I should have “blown my wad” enjoyed life and lived off the governement, cause that is what I will end up having to do once they (Fed and State) tax us to death!! Why not tax the people (rich) who have the most “clout” and leave us poor folk alone!! I, too, will consider moving out of state if this happens, IF I CAN SELL MY HOME THAT IS! Gov. knows he’s got us due to poor home sales in MI!! Not good Gov. Snyder…’d better come up with a better idea than this, or we “old folk” will pull an Egypt and get you out of office a.s.a.p.!!

  7. Tom Grosse Pointe says:

    Bad idea on two counts
    First . What is with the focus on PRIVATE pensions?? If there is a tax,it should apply to both private and public plans. Second..The retirement income exemption was a factor in my relocating to Michigan from NY. It certainly was not our great climate. You tax pensions and I am on my way south.

    1. Rick says:

      What about the people not as fortunate as those whose pensions were provided for them, but had to save their own?They have to pay tax on that money when it is taken.

  8. Bob says:

    You get what you vote for!

    1. Christine says:

      I agree with Bob, you get what you vote for!

  9. James says:

    Does not the Michigan constitution prohibit diminishing such pensions?

  10. Bob barely getting by says:

    I will also leave the state if this happens!! Also I will put forth a concerted effor to organize a mass exodus of seniors for Michigan with there pensions and spending power!!!!

    1. Rick says:

      LEAVE! Most seniors don’t spend much money anyway. We can use the extra medicare fund to create jobs!

  11. Mary says:

    Why should just the private sector be taxed. If you pass this then you should have it for all. I am really tired of public sector thinking they are above the private working people. What makes goverment, teachers, police and so on think they do not have to share in this burden. Its time taxes are made equible. We spend our life working and paying taxes. You would think a few years in retrirement you could be free of it. Your income is cut when you retire anyway why create this hardship. And for many it truly will be a hardship.

  12. mike says:


  13. lolamae says:

    Hmmmm… still trying to digest this one and am wondering if the ‘press leak’ is leaving out integral parts of the proposal. For transparency, I did vote for Snyder. I am 10 years from retirement. So here’s my take for what it’s worth…
    I don’t like the idea of taxing pensions but if we make all the cuts we can and still can’t meet our budget then I ‘might’ think it worth considering…. ONLY if the Michigan constitution exempting public employees is reversed. If you tax one, you need to tax them all. Teachers and state employees have lost touch with the average salary and benefits of the private sector worker. Your smug comments and name calling toward those of us unwilling to ‘feel sorry’ for your loss of tax free pension only makes you look foolish and immature. Threats to leave the state are laughable…. wanna leave? …then leave. Wanna stay? …glad to have ya, but you need to help fix the problems here. Those of us working in the private sector no longer have benfeits, we don’t have ‘retirement plans’. I wish I had your retirement, but those are a thing of the past. (Before you go off on me about how you ‘worked for that and invested a lot of time and money in your education’ , I hold a doctorate degree and work full-time.) I DO understand your not wishing to be taxed, but please take a moment to consider those of us left to shoulder the tax burden as we face a future of no retirement plan, no realistic hope of collecting social security, and a bankrupted medicare system. From where I stand, many of the state’s financial problems are rooted in our ‘new and improved’ definition of poor…. how is it that welfare recipients NEED a cell phone, internet access, government provided vehicles, etc. I have a prepaid cellphone (and use less minutes than the welfare program offers their clients), I cannot get cable where I live and surprisingly I survive with 5 free stations. Time for a reality check… our social safety net IS bloated, our government IS too large, our public employees ARE compensated in excess of what the market can endure. If you can find a better tax structure in another state so be it. But I’m not sure how you will sell your home (us private sector, working class, tax burdened schmucks can’t afford to buy your house). And be sure to get every ‘senior freebie’ there too! … ’cause I’m pretty sure that your new state’s working resident will just love your ‘tax free’ presence….

    1. mark says:

      I love the fact u have no balls to put your name on your bad ass Doctrin u stupid ass!

    2. Andy says:

      Homes are worth so little now, it is just as easy to give it to a charitable organization and take the tax write off or rent, most seniors homes are paid off, mine was paid off when i turned 50, and I retired when i was 53 and actually was surprised to find out I did not have to pay state tax on my pensions, I had no idea. I am leaving soon, just because I was always going to leave. My house, I don’t care about, I can just as easily give it to the city I guess. My two federal pensions minus a health insurance bill of $100 bucks a month is plenty for me to live on, being single. Maybe I will go back to Canada or move to Thailand and find myself a 20 year old lady. Life is too short to worry about what Snyder and his crony government is doing in Lansing. As for me, being 55, I will get my social security but a reduced amount due to my two federal pensions, I am receiving now… and in 30 years or so i will be dead.

    3. ss says:

      This goes all the way back to Engler. He raided the teacher pension at that time. He took 500 million dollars. He is on of Snyder’s advisors.

      I am a teacher. I will make about $35,000.00 a year for my pension. I invested much of it myself. I do not think that this is very much. I have planned carefully, and now they want to take over 4% of it? They took 3% last year. Why not take it all?

      I have 2 undergrad degrees and a master’s degree. I may not equal your doctorate degree, but I wonder if after 21 years you make approx. $60,000.00?

  14. John Schaefer says:

    It’s odd that Snyder would think there’d be enough votes to pass this, given the propensity of seniors to vote and to remember who hurt and helped them. I’d think that he’ll get about zero votes on this issue from Michigan Senators and Representatives on the Republican side that aren’t term limited or planning on resigning anyway. He’s also likely to lose a few Republican votes based on differing personal beliefs about the appropriateness of the plan. And surely he won’t get many Democratic votes, since this is a perfect wedge issue.

    Are Snyder’s people ignorant of the basics of vote counting?

    Does Snyder not care about his and the state Republican party’s political future?

  15. Jim says:

    I’ve been retired for 8 years, and my pension is the same amount now as it was when I retired, no cost of living increases. For the last 2 years there have been no increases in Social Security either, because supposedly the cost of living hasn’t increased. That’s really odd becausse our costs have certainly increased. My wife’s health insurance is now nearly $600 per month, and in 2010 our health-care costs were very nearly $11,000.00. Auto insurance, house insurance, and health costs increase every year, but our income remains the same, so we keep cutting, cutting, cutting on whatever we can. A tax-free pension is about all there is to keep people likie us, who aren’t wealthy, in Michigan. After a lifetime of working in Michigan and paying taxes this move by Snyder is unthinkable. If the new Governor is trying to push more people out of Michigan this is a good way to do it.

  16. Pastor ML Sullivan says:

    Last night I said NO! on FaceBook today I say NO! here on 950 WWJ! And this is Pastor ML Sullivan reporting for the “Michigan Seniors Who Are Against Anymore Taxes!” We pay more for medical care due to aging, now the only help we have against inflation is our fixed pensions. How about reducinng all those “High Incomes in Legislative branches including the Judicial branch and all those high paid over the top Administrators.”

    1. Tom Drummond says:

      Boy Pastor You got that one right.These people with their gigantic salary’s are what’s really bankrupting the state.Some scholl administrators make 6 figure salary’s and these judges and politicians with all their staff is what’s really killing us.I had a brother in law that was paid well over 100000 thousand for runnig a large school .He felt it wrong to be paid so much and so did I. The teachers that do the real work don’t make much until they been there a long time.

    2. Rahdaya says:

      Paster Sullivan,

      I totally agree with you. The comunnity needs to fight back and not run from this situation. I am for one returning to Detroit, to help make a difference. By building a buisness that will help bring jobs and also become and asset. I am a servant of the alimighty God. I have whole armor on and I will not allow this Govenor to temidate me period.

      God Bless You!


  17. Michael Sullivan says:

    Last night I said NO! on FaceBook today I say NO! here on 950 WWJ! And this is Pastor ML Sullivan reporting for the “Michigan Seniors Who Are Against Anymore Taxes!” We pay more for medical care due to aging, now the only help we have against inflation is our fixed pensions. How about reducinng all those “High Incomes in Legislative branches including the Judicial branch and all those high paid over the top Administrators.”

  18. Michael Sullivan says:

    Last night I said NO! on FaceBook today I say NO! here on 950 WWJ! And this is Pastor ML Sullivan reporting for the “Michigan Seniors Who Are Against Anymore Taxes!” We pay more for medical care due to aging, now the only help we have against inflation is our fixed pensions. How about reducinng all those “High Incomes in Legislative branches including the Judicial branch and all those high paid over the top Administrators.”
    Michigan has enough problems without a “Senior’s Exodus!” We are already in the “Wilderness!” And we want out, not more entrenched.

  19. rmt says:

    I heartily commend Lolamae’s post! The way I see it, the government (local, state, and federal) has become the Sheriff of Nottingham. The rest of us are only the indentured servants. Where is our Robin Hood?

  20. Mikey says:

    Gov. Snyder took a page out of Pres. Obama’s playbook. Like Obama who threw his fellow Democrats under the bus to get his Healthcare through, Gov. Snyder is throwing the Republicans under the bus to get his “Tax the Pensions” through the Legislators. Great, tax Grandma and Grandpa to give a Corporate Tax Cut!!!

    Also, Gov. Snyder should stop listening to those Right Wing Nut Jobs out of the Mackinaw Center of Midland. Yeah folks, affectionaly sounds like it is located at the straits but in reality, it is located in Midland, Michigan and is an arm of DOW Chemical, the biggest contributor. ($2.4 Million)

  21. barb says:

    He campaigned that he’d cut spending and NOT raise or add new taxes….a lie. Beyond that….what’s so sacred about PUBLIC pensions? Tax then all not just private ones. My private pension is only $12,000 a year. (after 44 years at a well known large company) A school superintendent’s pension after about 30 years is around $90,000, and a teacher around $40,000…..but I’ll be taxed on my measly one, but not them? Something’s wrong here!!!!! Guess I’ll just have to move out of Michigan too.

  22. bill barrand says:

    the only thing that keeps me here in this state is the fact my pension isn’t taxed,so if he wants to suck whats left by taxing my pension than i guess i’ll have to off my home that has already loss most of its equity from this states bad economy and take my funds that are left and my pension to a state that still appreciates retired folks.hes filthy rich and doesn’t have a clue what its like to live on a fixed income and have to pay for your health insurance that takes up a quarter of your monthly income.odeos you republican bum.

  23. tom says:

    It’s class warfare. And 45 percent of the government is powerless to stop an increasing assault on the middle class AND the disenfranchised. We live in a plutocracy. Money talks. And the disparity between the rich and the rest is going to get nothing but worse. We’ll have economic growth of 3.9 percent in the U.S. this year. But unemployment might drop .1 of 1 percent. Where is all that money going? Into the pockets of the rich. And if you’ve EARNED a pension or BARGAINED for benefits, as teachers and government employees have, prepare to see them disappear to make the rich even richer. Top tax rates have plunged since the Eisenhower Era, been slashed since the Reagan Years and been cut again in W’s term. Why? So the top two percent can flourish at the expense of everyone else. The problem is the banks and moneyed interests that buy influence at our expense. Too many public officials are caught up in a corrupt system and don’t defend average citizens. They protect money-gushing corporate concerns.

    If the U.S. got out of Afghanistan, it would have enough money to fund any program worth its salt and still cut taxes. But the people who keep the machine oiled make too much money from war. The fact that we bailed out the banks and still give oil companies subsidies is all we need to know. . . .

    2% of the population get richer at the expense of the remaining 98%…The re-distribution of wealth continues unabated here. The middle class will soon be a thing of the past.

    It is also generational warfare!! We see the elderly continued to be reduced in income and having to decide if they pay for heat, food, or medicines each month. Slicky Slider is just funneling more money to the rich as you said. We might just as well direct our State income tax to the DeVos and Meijer families as to the state.
    Record low interest is being paid at the bank on savings while record interest on credit cards is being collected. Massive margin of profits go right into the rich bankers that we bailed out!!!!!!.

    The only thing left is to grab your ankles and let them put it to you. I am sure most of this state will be in shock this afternoon and feel like they are a inclined plane wrapped around a cylinder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. John says:

    All this argument is interesting, but where do you suggest that the State go to really fix the unbalanced budget? Lets hear some really practical suggestions that our Legislature can work with to solve the problem. Seems that with such great interest out there, we should be able to come up with some great thought starters?

  25. Victor Robert says:

    I will take my private pension and move to Florida.They won’t mind if I spend it there.I am not going to stay here and pay for the mistakes of the the likes of whitmer and Kilpatric

  26. Richard Wenban says:

    taxing pensions I have a better idea its called recall, thats what working people can do. and to think I voted for him. You get what you vote for some are good some not so good.

  27. Bill Young says:

    Sad, isn’t it, that these comments are even necessary. We should all recognize that this state HAS a serious financial problem that almost defies any solution that would be acceptable to all of us. The governor’s proposal is so obviously unacceptable politically that one must wonder if it isn’t just a Red Herring tossed into the mix to make a later tough proposal seem more acceptable. Snyder may be a spokesman for the rich and powerful, but I doubt that he is a fool.

    My perspective is based on 27 years of retirement on a public pension that hasn’t risen since 1984 and has been assailed by those 27 years of inflation. My initial decision to retire early was particially based on Michigan’s constitutional promise not to tax my pension dollars. The exemption for private pensions came later, an addition to the tax code.

    This is a terrible time for Snyder to even consider reducing business taxes. His offer to work for a dollar each year doesn’t impress me; if I were a multi-millionaire, I could take the governship on as a hobby, too.

    I suggest that he take a closer look at other government fat such as the legislator’s salary scale and the size and salaries of their staffs. Perhaps the staffs could be reduced to a single secretary and a pool be created to provide them with research information. The excessive salaries of judges and their lucrative retirements should likewise be visited.

    But, keep a sharp lookout for the future moderated proposal, one you might accept now on the heels of this monster’s most-assured demise. This isn’t a new stratgy, you know.

  28. ameridan says:

    Most of the remaining jobs in Michigan are supported by the senior citizens that have remained because of the favorable tax treatment of pension incomes. If the remaining seniors now leave for Florida , there will no longer be a need for all of the service industry jobs like restaurant employees. That is why the State of Michigan exempted pension income back in 1994 in the first place – to keep those pension dollars here in Michigan.

  29. Bonnie TerMeer says:

    I would gladly not take a salary if I had the money the Gov. has, or the income the politions make off the back of the taxpayer, Why do all gov’t employees need all those benefits? I had to pay more every year for my Ins. no raises, short work weeks, give backs to keep companys in business just to have them move jobs to orther countrys, Where are our savings on products?
    Companys are advertising jobs but not hiring. HIRE and taxes paid will keep this state a float. I see so much waste and duplication in our gov’t its a shame.

    1. john says:

      I agree 100% Bonnie

  30. William says:

    A victory for the Tea Party!!

  31. Tom Drummond says:

    When I retired 5 years ago I decided to stay in Mi. It was a choice of Florida or Staying,Because of the tax situation I decided to stay here.Now that is no longer the case. So I guess I’ll give my house to my daughter and leave but first I’ll stay long enough to vote all the traitors out and contribute to their opponents canpaigns. I suggest you all do the same.It’s amazing what can be accomplished if all the little guys give to their opponents even if only a few dollars.Also I would like to know where The Canpaign for Liberty and the Tea party is when we need Them.

  32. Mira says:

    I hope everyone who can will join the seniors at the Capitol Building in Lansing on March 15, 2011 from 9am to 6pm to show the lawmakers we are very opposed to this tax increase.

  33. john says:

    I hate Republicans…… they destroy the working class ppl, in this country !!! When president Clinton left office, we had a surplus of money , every time we get a Republican president , things go to hell ,Democrats have to clean up the mess, so now we have another Republican Governor ugh ,get your brooms out :(

  34. Jim says:

    I get a kick out of all you people saying you will move!!!!! For the amount your pension will be taxed it will cost you many times more to move, get real. And for the ones who cry that there going to retire soon and loose healthcare etc, well you knew that years ago and should of been putting away for the retirement day. Taxing pensions isnt going to take all your money, its no different then paying income tax for gods sake. Just think how long you been getting away with it so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Stan Mazany says:

    Taxing pensions in Michigan should not happen. We retired and calculated what we would need to live on with no tax in place and to tax us now will hurt the majority of retires. If a tax on pensions happens we need to get Snyder out of office.

  36. Andy says:

    All you fools are preaching to the choir. If you haven’t figured it out yet, you vote republican and you get the shaft. Since the republicans took congress on the federal level gas prices have risen 40 percent and will see $4 bucks by July. You idiots voted for these people so take your medicine and quit whining.

  37. bun says:

    I did not vote for this so-called governor of michigan. I didn;t trust him when he talked about himself. Sure he doesn’t take a salary, because he doesn’t need one to survive. Retirees knew how much they were to get when they retired and knew about not being taxed. Now, this idiot is going to take away from our pensions to help out the rich. Also, taking away from schools to help the rich. He knows what it is like to be rich, so the hell with everyone else. I will move out of this state and move where someone that retired can live without being taxed to help the rich.

  38. Rhonda says:

    I do understand all of your concerns, but running to another state is not the answer. For example, the people in Miami spoke when they recall the comminssinor and the mayor here. The same can happen for Michigan but the people have to stand up for their state and stop running else where. It’s a trickle down affect. Why don’t the people of Michigan stand up and stop running.

  39. Alex M says:

    Governor Snyder;
    They will be calling you the reversal of Robin Hood. You are taking from the group of people who have the least only to serve your rich buddies with no guarantee it will help create jobs here in Michigan. Trickle down economics didn’t work during the Reagan Administration and it won’t work know. I hope you sleep well..

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