|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: LEIGH FIFELSKI|
|Wednesday, March 3, 2010||(517) 999-3646|
LANSING – Citizens group Progress Michigan today blasted a group of top corporate CEOs for supporting plans to balance Michigan’s budget on the backs of public employees – even as its new board chair himself received a 148-percent pay raise on top of his multi-million-dollar salary and perks this year.
Consumers Energy CEO David Joos is the new chairman of the board of Business Leaders for Michigan, which is spearheaded by wealthy CEOs who want to slash public services and state employees, but who themselves receive lavish bonuses and perks.
“These wealthy CEOs just need to shut up and stop the hypocrisy. Public workers and their families have sacrificed year after year, struggling to make ends meet like every other family, while Michigan’s version of greedy Wall Street CEOs like David Joos and his fat cat friends continue to rake in the big bonuses and protect their profits,” said Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz. “It’s clear that when these CEOs talk about ‘sacrifices,’ they aren’t talking about themselves. Lawmakers should reject their outrageous hypocrisy and keep their hands off workers whose families have already sacrificed.”
On Monday, Business Leaders for Michigan CEO Doug Rothwell voiced support for a plan that continues to target Michigan public workers despite factual data showing workers have made many sacrifices since 2001. According to a 2009 study by Michigan State University economist Dr. Charles Ballard, Michigan’s public employees already make lower wages than their counterparts in the private sector and despite the myths, state workers’ benefits are also on par or even less generous than what private sector workers get. Ballard’s study showed that public employees have sacrificed more than $3.7 billion in cuts, had higher health costs and suffered other sacrifices, including layoffs, between 2001 and 2008. In 2008-2009, state workers also saw a 2.4-percent pay cut. Ballard’s study showed Michigan now has the fewest number of state workers in recent history, at around 55,000 in 2008, a sharp 18-percent drop since 2001.
The plan to balance Michigan’s budget on the backs of Michigan public workers has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, who continues to refuse to cut his own taxpayer funded lifetime health care benefits.
“Public workers are already part of Michigan’s budget solution and the record shows it,” Holtz said. “Corporate bosses who ask struggling families to continue sacrificing while protecting their own bonuses are practicing the worst kind of hypocrisy. Lansing must stop balancing Michigan’s budget on the backs of ordinary families while kowtowing to CEOs like Consumer Energy’s Joos whose own company receives monopoly protection from the state while he gets big bonuses.”
On Monday, CMS Energy, parent company of Consumers, told the Securities and Exchange Commission that Joos and other top executives will receive bonuses equal to 148 percent of their salaries. For Joos and other top officers at CMS, that means more than $4 million in bonuses in 2009. According to Business Week, Joos’ total annual compensation in 2008, including salary and stocks, was around $5.8 million.