NewsNation with Tamron Hall, 7/22/13, 2:33 PM ET

Detroit’s employees fear losing their pensions

The legality of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing is being challenged in the courts. At issue are the unfunded pensions and health benefits promised to city workers. Retired Detroit policeman Don Taylor joins NewsNation’s Tamron Hall to discuss the...

Beset by uncertainty, Detroit retirees brace for ‘devastating’ cuts

By msnbc staff

Don Taylor served as a Detroit police officer for 26 years, earning an annual salary of roughly $37,000. But when the city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week, his pension of $2,300 per month suddenly became uncertain.

Kevin Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, has called for significant cuts to the pensions of current retirees as part of a plan to dig the city out of its $18 billion hole. According to Orr’s estimates, pension liabilities account for about $3.5 billion of the city’s monstrous debt.
An Ingham County judge ruled last Friday that the Michigan state constitution protects pension benefits and declared the bankruptcy filing unconstitutional. But should a higher court overrule that decision, Taylor’s pension and the pensions of thousands of municipal retirees could be subject to drastic cuts.
Asked on NewsNation Monday what he will do without his pension, Taylor was at a loss.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I have no other source of income.”
Taylor said many of his fellow retirees live off very meager pension benefits, and that any cut, however necessary, could prove “devastating.”


Beset by uncertainty, Detroit retirees brace for 'devastating' cuts