State budget ax falls on retirees

March 20, 2011

Earlier this year in Annapolis I saw a very troubling glimpse of things to come when the budget cutting ax falls. Staff reported to the members of the legislature that while the state of Maryland was contractually required to provide medical benefits, including prescription drug assistance, to active employees this was not the case with retirees. They, desperately looking for places to cut put a bull's eye on us, their former employees. Morality and decency be damned, it was legal after all, to carve up the benefits retirees rely on.

Maryland has long provided it's former workers in retirement the same prescription plan it provided its current employees. When determining if they could retire, the employees relied on the fact that Maryland would be consistent in its assistance with their prescription costs. For many, this prescription help, in itself, was the only thing that allowed them to finally retire when their health failed and they had outlived their usefulness as state workers.

Please keep your promise to state retirees and do not reduce their benefits after they have kept their promises to the state and the citizens of Maryland. Thank you for your consideration.

James Hagerty, Westminster

The writer is a retired state worker.

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