Senate President Writes Letter to the Governor Calling for Pension Action in Fall Session

The Maryland General Assembly will be convening for a special session this fall to work on congressional redistricting. In a letter sent this week to Governor Martin O’Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. proposed that the special session be used to cover several other issues.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Post on Wednesday, provides few specific proposals. But it is certain to spark debate in coming weeks. Miller calls for action in three areas:

* Closing a continuing “structural deficit” in Maryland’s operating budget with “increased revenue.”

* Addressing a backlog of transportation needs with “greater contributions from the users and beneficiaries of our public infrastructure.”

* And generating additional budget savings by “sharing” teacher pension costs with the counties.

In Maryland, the state currently picks up the pension costs of local teachers. During the previous legislative session, at O’Malley’s initiative, lawmakers restructured benefits and contributions for state workers and teachers. But none of the nearly $1.4 billion cost was shifted to counties.

No specific taxes were named in Miller’s letter, but he did state that “Sharing of teachers pension costs … continues to be good fiscal and public policy…There is simply no justification for the State funding the entire cost of this subsidy to local government next year.”

Miller closed the letter by urging legislative leaders to start meeting as soon as possible to reach a consensus on th special session agenda. To read the full article from the Washington Post, please click here.

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