As we all know, Michigan is facing a $1.8 billion budget shortfall this year. To help bridge this gap and fix our long-term structural deficit, Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a budget that includes having state, school and local government workers pay 20 percent of their health insurance cost.
Applying that 20 percent level to Michigan’s 148 lawmakers will only achieve modest savings when compared to the approximate $380 million that could be saved by requiring school and state workers to contribute the same amount, but I believe each of us must do our part to put our state back on track.
I believe that our state legislators should lead by example. That is why we introduced Senate Bill 304, which would require all senators and state representatives to pay 20 percent of their health insurance cost.
Solving our state’s budget problems will require shared sacrifice. We must all tighten our belts and get Michigan back on track. In the past, I have voted to cut my salary by 10 percent and to reduce the budget for my legislative office by 12 percent over the past three years.
Before we ask a teacher or state worker to pay 20 percent, my colleagues and I should also set an example by making that same sacrifice. And that is what we will do.