Pension Report Sees Growing Divide Between Best, Worst-Funded State-Level Systems

A report by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence shows the best-funded state pension plans are receiving better ongoing commitments than the lesser-funded ones. Maryland rated in the middle section of this study. The report, tracking though FY 2017, shows the evolving state of pension plans across many states. Their key finding is that the spread between the best-funded and more poorly-funded plans has grown dramatically in recent years - as evidenced by…

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Update on County Pension Rates and Teacher Pension Costs

Contribution rates increase for county members of the State Pension System, and the State and local governments share teacher pension costs in fiscal year 2020. At the most recent meeting of the Board of Trustees for the Maryland State Pension System, the Board heard a presentation of the annual actuarial valuation of the System from its consulting actuary, Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company (GRS). The valuation is conducted each year in order to determine the…

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Investment Strategy Explained in Response to Recent Report on State Pension System

A statement from the State Retirement Agency's Chief Investment Officer responds to the most recent critical report of the Maryland Public Policy Institute. About half of Maryland's counties participate in the State Pension System for pension coverage for their employees. Those counties pay employer contribution to the System. All counties provide funding for teacher pensions, also a part of the State Pension System, through contributions to local Boards of Education. Maryland counties and municipalities have…

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Article Offers Practical Solutions to the Public Pension Crisis

A retired Harvard-educated lawyer argues for sharing risk as a fix to underfunded pension systems. An article on MuniNet Guide offers a model pioneered in New Brunswick as a solution that could be implemented by states and local governments throughout the US. The shared-risk model would bring employees and employers to the table to define a set of sustainable pension benefits, including pension payments computed solely on base salary, and contribution costs shared proportionally by…

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Round-up of the 2018 Session for Counties

MACo’s legislative efforts earned an 80% success rate – and as usual, the counties’ voice makes a difference in Annapolis. Bills we support are more likely to pass, and bills we oppose are more likely to fail. MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its Legislative Committee. This body comprises elected representatives from all of MACo’s members – the 24 county jurisdictions (including Baltimore City). The “one county, one vote” system of deciding…

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2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: County Pensions

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on legislation affecting county pension systems in the 2018 General Assembly.  Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.  MACo successfully opposed a bill that would have imposed several mandates on county and municipal pension systems, upsetting the structure of benefits and programs available to public safety officers injured on the job. The retroactive and finely prescriptive nature of the bill would have overturned a wide range of reasonable…

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In Search of a Window of “Opt-outunity”

MACo seeks options for county government members of the State Pension System with regard to legislation to increase the maximum benefit allowance under the Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System (LEOPS). Legislation has passed the House of Delegates to increase the maximum benefit allowance that law enforcement officers might attain in the State's Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System. On March 22, the bill, HB 1042, which does not have a Senate companion, had a hearing before…

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Investments Come In-House with Pensions Bill

Legislation to create an investment division within the State Retirement Agency has proceeded smoothly through the Maryland Senate. The change would bring Maryland's System into line with many other state pension systems of similar size, and could save costs in the long term. On Thursday, March 15, a bill to create an internal investment division within the State Retirement Agency passed the Maryland Senate on what is called "second reader." After a quiet hearing in…

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Broad Unfunded Disability Allowance Would Disrupt County Systems

MACo Research Director Robin Eilenberg testified in opposition to House Bill 971, Local Pension Systems - Special Disability Retirement Allowance", before the House Appropriations Committee on March 6, 2018. The bill would mandate and establish a new structure of pension benefits in county and local governments for special classes of public safety employees. Counties that already negotiate benefits for these special classes would potentially have current systems undermined. Additionally, participating counties generally already engage in…

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Pension Benefits Increase Would Create an Unbalanced System

MACo Research Director Robin Clark Eilenberg testified in opposition to House Bill 1042, "Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System - Benefit Cap Increase", before the House Appropriations Committee on February 22, 2018. This legislation increases the limit for a normal service allowance for a member of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System from 60% to 65% of the member’s average final compensation. Seven counties currently participate in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS), and this would…

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