Howard County Community Groups Voice Support for the “Stop the Shift” Movement

According to a Baltimore Sun article “…various county government and community groups…came out to the Howard County Delegation’s public hearing Tuesday, February 21 to speak in opposition to the proposed teacher pension shift.”

This pension shift will ask us local governments to pay the bill for something we don’t control,” County Council Chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty said. “We cannot absorb the cost of the pension shift without significantly impacting critical services that our residents need.

Jackie Eng, of the Association of Community Services, said she is worried about the potential impact on funding for nonprofit and critical community service organizations. She explained the 30 percent where cuts could be made as “the portion the budget that is already stretched to capacity to meet the human services and public safety needs.”

Others who spoke against the shift included Howard Community College President Kate Hetherington, school board members Frank Aquino and Ellen Giles and Howard County Education Association President Paul Lemle, among others.

The Governor is proposing a shift of pension costs from the State to county governments, providing $239 million in fiscal relief to the State budget for FY 2013, and creating an equal fiscal responsibility on county governments. Given the importance of the issue, and the many confusing elements of the plan and its reporting, MACo hopes to clarify the proposal on the table and its effects on county governments here.

 

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