In a meeting with the League of Women Voters, the Baltimore Sun reports that all but one Howard County legislator believes the shifting of teacher pension costs to the counties at some point is inevitable.
If true, that shift in costs could eventually force higher property taxes for county homeowners, since local governments are just as short of cash as the state is. Some, like Del. Guy Guzzone, are still hoping the economy, and thus revenues. will improve enough in the next few years to prevent the cost shift. For now, though, Guzzone’s belief that the cost shift won’t occur remains a decidedly minority view.
“Five years ago teacher pensions cost about $480 million [a year]. This year it’s $975 million,” Senate Majority Leader and Budget and Tax Committee chairman Edward J. Kasemeyer told more than 150 people at the League’s annual luncheon forum at Bethany United Methodist Church in Ellicott City January 8.
The conclusion, according to all three Howard state senators and several delegates, excluding Guzzone, is that the state simply can’t afford to shoulder this growing burden alone in the future, especially at the same time legislators are determined to end Maryland’s chronic structural deficit that annually produces more spending than revenues.