LANSING (WWJ) – Hundreds of senior citizens rallied on the capitol steps in Lansing in protest of Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal to tax private pensions.

Busload after busload of senior citizens traveled from Metro Detroit for what was  dubbed the “It’s Not Fair” rally.

seniors on the bus sign Seniors Rally In Protest Of Pension Tax

During an interview with WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas, Detroiter Patricia Williams said, “No, it’s not fair. I think that’s wrong. I don’t think they should pick on the seniors, you know, because most of them … are barely making it.”

Skubick said the crowd heard from a number of speakers, Tuesday afternoon, who are all denouncing, unilaterally, the governor’s proposal to tax pensions.

According to Skubick, the governor said it’s not a pension tax, per se, it’s just the loss of a deduction on seniors’ taxes.

“What he’s trying to do is even the playing field between young people who are paying taxed for state services and senior citizens who are getting those services and not paying for them,” Skubick said.

“However, the Seniors say, ‘Look, we’re on a fixed income.  We can’t go out and get another job to pay this tax. So, don’t tax us at all’,” he said.

Senate Republicans have acknowledged that this is not at all a popular tax with senior citizens, and they may reduce the size of the bite that the state takes out.

“The Governor is basically taking the $900 million that would be raised by this pension tax, if he gets it, and he’s using it for business tax relief, and the seniors don’t like that either.  There’s not guarantee that jobs will be created, the sponsors of this rally say… They’re telling lawmakers inside ‘Don’t do this to us’,” Skubick said.

Prior to attending Tuesday’s rally, Marietta Bishop of Berkley said she’s never done anything like this, but she and her husband were pushed into action by a governor who she says is taking from the poor and middle class, and giving to the rich.

“It’s anything but fair, anything but fair. And, right now we’re trying to help a son who has lost his home and our three grandchildren, and the seniors are putting money into their adult children and their children, so now he wants to take that money away,” she said.

“So, how do we make the economy go around like that? How do I go to Kohl’s, shop for the grandkids and help with homes and everything else when he’s gonna take our money?” Bishop said.

Comments (17)
  1. martyjbird says:

    With all the seniors in Lansing complaining about the governor’s plan to tax pensions I bet the casinos will be empty today.

  2. Richard says:

    What are the facts? is the proposed tax on the first dollar of the pension or does it kick in at $41K?

    1. Brian Mccann says:

      it must be on dollar 1 or the wwj brilliant reporters would have said……….i mean they are not idiots right?

  3. abbey says:

    The seniors are saying, “It’s not fair,” but aren’t they the ones that taught us that life is not fair? What about their children and grandchildren that have to pick up the burden of the deficit? Shouldn’t they be saying it’t not fair that we have to pay for your social security and all the debit that has been incurred?

    1. Elaine says:

      Seniors have paid into social security all their lives. Many have paid into pension programs their entire career, and those funds were post taxes. Pensions might better be regarded as investment income, and should not taxed at the same rate as employment income.

      1. Brian Mccann says:

        pension contributions by employers are deductible so that money was not taxed…………time to pay up granny.

      2. CaptCaffeine says:

        Brian is correct; So-So Security is pretax dollars.

  4. CaptCaffeine says:

    “In the Michigan House, there seems to be a rather more sanguine attitude about all of this; that maybe this is the right thing to do and the governor says this is all about fairness and shared sacrifice. But, the seniors may take a different view when they show up on the capitol steps.”

    Another example of yellow journalism to incite the emotions of readers. Where are your FACTS?

  5. CaptCaffeine says:

    How many of those seniors are going to be bussed in from neighboring states? Just wondering… perhaps you should investigate this and see if it’s happening?

  6. Jim says:

    If you don’t like it, move to another State, but check their taxing situation first. I don’t believe most pensions generate more than 40K/year anyway. I wish mine did! Get the facts before you complain.

  7. Phil says:

    Exempting pension income from taxes is just a form of “stealing from the future” , which we have been doing for years now and must stop if we are ever to recover from the mess we’re in. Funny, isn’t it, how everyone wants to cut programs or raise taxes, as long as it’s done to others!

  8. Dan Baker says:

    Three People all the same age..
    One has no savings and is forced to work..Pays Taxes
    One paid into a 401K and is now collecting..Pays Taxes
    One collects a pension..pays nothing? These are the people you’re fighting for?

  9. Roger Buchholtz says:

    The Michigan FairTax would stop taxing income from any source for seniors and everybody else and only tax spending on retail purchases… and even then it provides a payment to every legal household in Michigan to offset taxes paid on purchases up to the poverty level for all households. It would make Michigan the most attractive state to live and locate a business.

    Learn the facts at

  10. CaptCaffeine says:

    State employees’ pensions are “unfunded liabilities” – that means there’s no actual money in the account. The Social Security fund was raided for other entitlements years ago. Americans are coming to the realization that there is no way to fund all of these accounts without a substantial increase in taxes coupled with reductions in entitlements. Our President has encouraged us that we must all make sacrifices to save our country … while he vacations in Vail and hosts party after party in the WH. But that’s okay. He’s the President.

  11. Eric says:

    Greektown wants their customers back!

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