What Others Are Saying
"I don't think [the counties are] in any better position to pick up these costs than we are"
Note: one year later, the Governor proposed making the counties pay up.
"If the state is serious about fixing its pension problems, its leaders need to take ownership of the problem rather than simply hand it off to someone else. Acknowledge the causes and fix them or we will be back here again with both the teachers and the taxpayers stuck in the middle."
"It’s really a $50 million bill… Boy, that’s a lot of money and we really have no say in it."
"We leave here with a mission, and that mission is we're going to draw a line in the sand... And we're not going to step back; we will protect our teacher pensions."
"The impact of the Teacher Pension shift would be crippling to the counties we represent. This shift could impact our abilities to provide funding for our libraries, community colleges, and non-profits. For a County like mine, it could even impact our ability to fund the public safety recruits we so desperately need."
"This is really a crippling blow to our local budget."
"I oppose efforts to shift the cost of pensions to the counties. I am willing to vote to raise revenue and/or to make other cuts, but I think it is a mistake to reduce our investment in education. Paying teachers is one of the best investments the State and counties can make."
"The Montgomery County Board of Education strongly opposes any effort to shift state pension costs to local governments. In real fiscal terms, this shift would have a devastating impact on counties and school districts that are already facing significant fiscal challenges...
" The Board believes that teacher retirement should remain as a state-funded categorical program and that funding the pension system should not be the responsibility of local governments. The General Assembly determines how much employees contribute and how much retirees will receive. The State Retirement Agency invests pension funds and administers the program. Local officials have had very little input into how the fund is managed or operated. Indeed, actions that led to underfunding of the pension—including the 2006 enhancement of benefits and the so-called “corridor funding,” which allows underfunding by up to 10 percent—were the result of state-level decisions. "
"I oppose the shifting of pension costs to county governments. Solutions to this problem should include the reduction of spending in other areas. Examples can include the elimination of the $100 million dollar annual subsidy to the horse racing industry contemplated as a part of the full implementation of slot machines in Maryland."
"What the local governments are going to do is raise taxes, in my opinion, if they get that burden now."
"I’ve consistently supported maintaining the state obligation in teachers’ pensions and not shifting our burden onto the counties. This is a state obligation that we’ve made to our teachers and I think we should fulfill it."
"Such a shift — in some counties, of tens of millions of dollars — would cripple the ability of each county to adequately fund its school system, to prevent ballooning class sizes, or to adequately provide other important public services. No consideration seems to have been given to the dire financial straits in which Maryland’s counties find themselves."
"Shifting teacher pensions to the county is equal to cutting education, and I won't support it!!"
"We are working to defeat this plan which will cripple counties throughout the State, including Prince George's County. We encourage our State legislators to make the right choice for public safety, public services and our County's future. "
""I believe this shift will have a dramatic impact on our budget in 2013 and into the future, because our tax and revenue models do not factor in the County taking responsibility for teacher pensions… We are already looking at a $126 million dollar deficit and based on the Governor’s plan, Prince George’s County Government would be forced to make even tougher decisions that could significantly affect the programs and services provided to our citizens, businesses and visitors."
"I think it would be a mistake to shift pension costs to the counties."
"I have actually been opposed to it in the past and I am opposed to it now… I don’t think (the counties) are able to handle it."
"We already raised taxes last year on our citizens. Now to foot the bill for what the government wants to pass onto us, we just can’t stand another hit like that."
"They’re going to bankrupt the counties, and they don’t care. They want us to balance their budget for them."
"We don’t have the money to fund it. We’ve already taken huge hits and to absorb this, it’s too much."
"We strongly oppose such a shift. What may appear to be good fiscal policy for the state, in these uncertain economic times, would be devastating for county and school board budgets. The immediate impact of such a shift would be less local funding for schools at a time when school systems are being asked to do more with less. That is hardly the kind of fiscal or public policy outcome local boards of education, and parents and students expect, or the Maryland Constitution demands."
"I fear a train wreck. We’ve been watching the train come down the track and we’ve been trying to alert the trainmaster… But the crash seems to be imminent."
"It could impact dollars and cents-wise the amount you would be able to offer in salary increases, plain and simple."
"The potential transfer of teacher pension costs will punish school systems across the state but especially those school systems like ours which have reduced class size and provided the number of special education teachers and services needed to provide high-quality educational services for all students. If the teacher pension costs are transferred to our local government and passed on to our school system, the quality of our top-performing educational program will be severely challenged like never before."
"MSEA has long opposed, and remains deeply uneasy about, shifting teacher pension costs because of the detrimental impact such a shift would have on students, programs, and local school funding."
"We recognize that the plan is designed to minimize the financial impact in the first year; however, the impact on the county budget in the out years promises to be devastating. As the offsets disappear and the jurisdictions absorb more-and-more of the 50% contribution, this line item alone is soon going to exceed $60 million in Prince George’s County. In the coming years, this hit to the local budget will hinder our ability to deliver resources to the classroom. It will likely adversely affect our capacity to meet the required set asides for GASBE and, ultimately, could endanger health care for our active and retired employees."
"Allegany County and City of Cumberland leaders stand together. Enough is enough. This will devastate Western Maryland."
By Administrator on March 2, 2012
The Eastern Shore counties created a Powerpoint presentation against the teacher pension shift. You can view it by clicking the link below.
"We, the undersigned organizations, are opposed to shifting costs for state pensions to county governments. The proposal that has been introduced in the Governor's budget would cost county governments $1.6 billion over the next five years alone. It would force counties to cut local services that residents depend on, from education to parks to arts and culture to libraries to human services to transportation. We call on the General Assembly to protect our community by opposing the shift."
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