March 28, 2010

Md. Senate passes budget that would shift cost of teacher pensions to counties

Maryland's Senate passed a $31.9 billion budget Wednesday that would shrink overall state spending and fundamentally shift responsibility for teacher retirement costs from the state to counties. The retirement-cost plan faces stiff resistance and is not expected to survive in the House of Delegates. But fiscal watchdogs and longtime lawmakers said the fact that the Senate passed the controversial change probably means it's now a matter of when, not if, Maryland counties will soon be responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars annually in teacher pension costs. Maryland pays nearly the entire cost of every teacher retirement plan in the state, although counties negotiate the teacher salaries that ultimately dictate the amount the state will have to pay in retirement costs. The counties make Social Security payments. In recent years, as Maryland has significantly increased funding for education and many counties have gained national attention for the quality of their classrooms, teacher pay has increased, and in turn, the state's long-term teacher pension costs have soared. SOURCE: Washington Post

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