Teacher Pension Shift Seen as Most Contentious Budget Issue

As reported in the Gazette, transferring a portion of teacher pensions to the counties is shaping up to be the most controversial discussion item for the budget conference committee.

With the end of this year’s legislative session in sight, a group of budget negotiators is preparing for what could be a contentious battle over whether to begin shifting teacher pension costs to the counties.

“It is the most controversial issue” in the fiscal 2011 budget, said Sen. David R. Brinkley (R-Dist. 4) of New Market, who has been on conference committees in previous legislative sessions. “The House has its stand, the Senate has its stand, and the conference committee has to hammer it out.”

On Thursday, the House debated the state budget. Delegates are scheduled to vote today on the budget but have said they would not support plans to shift pension costs to the counties.

“At this time, I’d have to say our position is to hold this until next year and take another look comprehensively,” said Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-Dist. 29B) of California, a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s oversight panel on pensions. “Our position right now is pretty strong in the House.”

For coverage of the teacher pension shift and the State Budget, stay tuned to the MACo blog.

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