As reported by the Gazette, a shift of teacher pension costs to local governments seems to be gaining some traction in the House of Delegates.
“I think there is now an emerging consensus in the House that it’s a cost we need to share,” said Del. John Bohanan (D-Dist. 29B) of California, who objected to a pension shift proposal two years ago because he believed the issue needed more study.
However, differing views do exist.
House Minority Leader Del. Anthony O’Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby, who opposes the shift, said it wasn’t yet clear whether there was enough support in the House for the measure to pass.
“Unfortunately, the governor’s budget is predicated on shifting this down to the locals,” O’Donnell said. “That makes it more difficult to stop.”
House Republicans next week plan to offer their own budget proposal, which will not include the pension shift, O’Donnell said.
A pension shift is likely to drive counties to raise taxes and just pushes that responsibility from the state to the local jurisdictions, said Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-Dist. 37B) of Newcomb.
The House Appropriations Committee will be making its budget decisions this week. A discussion of this issue will likely take place Friday during its full committee budget decision meeting. The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee approved its pension shift proposal last week and it will be brought to the full Senate for consideration this Wednesday.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for continuing, up-to-date coverage of this issue.