LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gave the state back all but $1 of his pay last year. But this year, the multimillionaire said he plans on giving a portion of his $159,300 annual salary to charity.
The Republican governor announced in his 2011 budget address that he'd return all but $1 of his pay during his first year in office as part of the "shared sacrifice" needed to balance the books. Since there's no mechanism for the state to withhold his paychecks, he wrote a check at the end of last year returning all but a dollar.
"I'm going to do something different this year," he told reporters Wednesday, but added that he plans to "check with my wife" before making a decision on how much to give.
Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said the governor and his wife will decide by year's end which charities will benefit and by how much. He doesn't plan to give any money back to the state, which remains under tight constraints even though overall revenues are slightly increasing.
"Charitable giving does make an important positive difference and helps the state in many ways, and it can help ease the need for state resources," Wurfel said in an email.
Snyder became a multimillionaire through his work as a Gateway computer executive and venture capitalist.
During Michigan's lengthy economic downturn, former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm voluntarily returned 5 percent to 10 percent of her $177,000 annual salary while she was in office.
Salaries paid to the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and lawmakers were cut 10 percent in 2011 by the State Officers Compensation Committee to save money.
State workers covered by unions are scheduled to get a 1 percent raise in October. But they'll also start paying 20 percent of their health insurance premiums, double what they're paying now.
Those that have defined benefit pensions also must put 4 percent of their pay toward their retirement costs or agree to have their pensions frozen and switch to a defined contribution plan.
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