Discussion of a Teacher Pension Shift Continues

A Washington Examiner article adds to the speculation about a possible shift in teacher pension costs to the counties this session. According to the article:

Maryland officials and Washington-area leaders are gearing up for a fight over the skyrocketing tab for teacher pensions, which threaten to overwhelm already beleaguered budgets both at the state and local levels, according to those on competing sides of the fierce debate.

The pension issue is seemingly raised as soon as lawmakers return to the State House each January. Yet, this year both county and state leaders acknowledge an unprecedented urgency surrounding the issue and expect the conflict to come to a head during the current legislative session.

The article also offered some thoughts as to how such a shift might be paid for…

Though there is momentum behind a cost-share arrangement with localities in Maryland, O’Malley expressed reservations over such a shift.

However, area officials say they wouldn’t be surprised if O’Malley proposed moving a portion of the pension bills to counties — funded partly by new taxes, such as a higher levy on millionaires, among others.

More detailed coverage can be found in the Washington Post.
A shift, which aides confirmed O’Malley is likely to propose, could add tens of millions of dollars in new costs to counties’ beleaguered budgets in coming years and potentially lead the General Assembly to give counties a way to raise revenue to cover the bill. O’Malley said the pension issue would have to be settled in tandem with a growing dispute between Annapolis and counties over the minimum amounts they must contribute to classrooms. Both will “need to be addressed” during the 90-day legislative session, he said.

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