Lahti Sounds Off on School Bill & Service Taxes

School districts across the state are looking for ways to stretch their budgets.

A new state retirement deal for teachers passed both chambers of the state legislature a few days ago.

The goal of the plan is to encourage teacher retirements to make way for younger, newer teachers earning lower salaries.

Part of the package would increase pension benefits for those who retire this year between July 1st and September 1st.

ABC 10 News Now’s Cynthia Thompson had a chance to talk with State Rep. Mike Lahti of Hancock about the bill today.

He thinks the bill is a good idea, and he hopes there’s enough of an incentive in it to encourage teachers to retire because it can save the state as much as $3 billion in the next 10 years.

The Michigan Education Association, which is the state advocacy group for Michigan teachers, opposes the bill.

Officials from the MEA say it may cause fewer people to enter education as a career choice.

During Cynthia’s conversation with Lahti this afternoon, she asked him about the nationwide effort to begin taxing services.

The state of Maine passed a law to tax dry cleaning and car repairs.

Pennsylvania is considering a tax on accounting services.

In Michigan, there’s talk of putting a tax on personal care services like haircuts, tanning salon packages or massages.

Lahti says the current tax system isn’t bringing in enough money to pay for essential state services.

He calls it sad but true that, in his opinion, something like this would be needed.

We’ll have more from Rep. Lahti tomorrow night on a number of other topics, from tourism and economic issues facing the U.P. to the bill making its way through the legislature on bullying.