Public workers prohibited from payroll PAC contributions

A bill to prohibit public employees from making payroll contributions to Political Action Committees landed on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk, and he signed it yesterday.

Last year, the Michigan Supreme Court held in Michigan Education Ass’n v. Secretary of State that administration of payroll deductions for political contributions is prohibited by Section 57 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

The legislature pounced on it, and passed House Bill 5085 and House Bill 5086, now Public Acts 30 and 31 of 2012.

Gov. Snyder also signed bills that eliminate 36 trial court judgeships, a move that will save an estimated $6 million annually.

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MSC to hear pension tax arguments next week

A recently enacted bill that phases out the tax exemption for public employee pensions, and whether it violates the Michigan and U.S. constitutions, is at issue in a case that the Michigan Supreme Court will hear on Sept. 7.

The Court will hear In Re Request for an Advisory Opinion Regarding Constitutionality of 2011 PA 38 at the request of Gov. Rick Snyder, who asked the Court to rule before Oct. 1, the earliest date that any of the act’s provisions could take effect.

Opponents of the law say that it violates the Michigan Constitution because it reduces the pension income that public sector retirees have already earned. The bill’s supporters say that the Constitution does not create a permanent public pension tax exemption and that the bill is consistent with the Legislature’s power to tax.

Oral arguments will begin at 10 a.m. at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing.