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Michigan Workers Win Case Over Health Care Cash

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – It’s a setback for Governor Rick Snyder and state lawmakers who want to hike the cost of health care benefits for retired state workers.

The Michigan appeals court says lawmakers acted illegally when they forced public employees to pay 3 percent toward their coverage.

WWJ’s Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said the ruling states that the governor and legislature simply don’t have that power.

“That power is with the Civil Service Commission and not with the legislature. So, basically their efforts are gonna be for nought,” Skubick said, speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950.

“That will created hole in the budget. Good news for the retirees … but lawmakers and the governor are not going to be happy with the ruling,” he said.

The three-judge panel on Friday affirmed earlier decisions from the state Court of Claims. The appeals court says lawmakers in 2010 were simply trying to full a budget hole when they couldn’t muster the two-thirds vote needed to kill 3 percent raises for state employees.

The court says lawmakers illegally trampled the work of the Civil Service Commission, which had approved the raises. The court says lawmakers need to respect the “system of checks and balances” in the Michigan Constitution.

- View a copy for the ruling (.pdf format) -

The Legislature, meanwhile, is working on other ways to get money from state employees.

No word on whether Gov. Snyder will appeal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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