Difficult Session Predicted for Local Governments

As reported by the Baltimore Sun, local governments have a difficult road ahead them this legislative session.  Although Governor Martin O’Malley said he would not seek to transfer a portion of teacher pensions to the counties this year, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch made it clear that balancing the fiscal 2012 budget would “likely be impossible without squeezing local aid.”

As state lawmakers prepare for the 2011 legislative session, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch are warning that it will likely be impossible to balance the state’s $13 billion operating budget without squeezing local aid.

“Let’s all work together to solve the problem,” Busch told local leaders Friday at the winter conference of the Maryland Association of Counties.

O’Malley and other Democratic state leaders stressed the “in this together” theme throughout the conference. Busch appealed to local leaders to speak up with cost-savings and revenue-generating ideas of their own if they see the governor’s budget, to be released this month, as unappealing.

Miller told local officials that while the governor had tried to “make you feel good” by promising not to send any of the $900 million teacher pension burden their way this year, it’s merely a way to “kick the can down the road on pensions.”

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