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Pension Reform

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NEWS
February 18, 2013
Two hundred million dollars has been diverted from Maryland state employees' pension funds in 2013. The government's deception is abominable. House Republicans are offering three pension reform proposals, and I encourage everyone to call their delegates to get them on board behind the Prudent Pension Management Act, the State Employee Pension Choice Act and the Fairness in Pension Government Act. Gini Spicer, Crownsville Text NEWS to...
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NEWS
February 4, 2014
In 2011, Maryland's state government was facing significant budget challenges in both the short term and the long term. The lingering effects of the recession and the waning of federal stimulus funds had blown a hole of about $1.6 billion in the state's general fund budget for the next year. And the stock market crash coupled with a history of under-investment had caused a precipitous drop in the levels of funding for the state's employee pension systems, meaning big liabilities for the state in the decades ahead.
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NEWS
July 24, 2012
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz writes in his op-ed "Keeping public employee benefits in check" (July 22) that the county needs to keep "finding efficiencies to fund additional costs. " Well what about the efficiency of him not double dipping the county pension system to the tune of $168,000 on a provision in the pension guidelines that was meant only to try and retain retiring experienced school bus drivers? After the Sun broke the story, he has remained silent! As a Baltimore County resident and taxpayer, I consider it outright dishonesty to line his personal pockets.
NEWS
November 13, 2013
City Councilwoman Helen Holton's proposed alternative to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's plan to put many future municipal employees into a 401(k)-style plan instead of a traditional pension sounds, on the surface, like the compassionate thing to do. Ms. Holton wants to keep city civilian employees who make less than $40,000 a year in a traditional pension and to place those who make more in a hybrid plan, the idea being that those who earn less can least bear the risks associated with the kind of defined contribution plan the mayor proposes.
NEWS
February 13, 2013
Sometimes it seems that Baltimore is politically comatose. As this well written Sun editorial points out ("A wake-up call for the city," Feb. 8), real estate taxes are double that of the next highest municipality, income taxes are higher than any other municipality and at the legal limit, and schools and infrastructure are crumbling. We have a firmly entrenched bloated government bureaucracy which spends 20 percent of its budget on legacy costs and has $3.2 billion of unfunded pension liabilities.
NEWS
February 5, 2011
While I appreciate Marta Mossburg's concern for the future of the Maryland pension system ("Maryland pension reforms don't go far enough," Feb. 1), her assertion that Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed reforms are insufficient is simply incorrect and is based on an apparent misunderstanding of the facts. The governor's proposal is, in actuality, based upon sound actuarial analysis and is designed to restore the pension system to 80 percent funding in eleven years and 100 percent funding by 2030.
NEWS
By Patrick Moran | October 18, 2010
Recent Baltimore Sun editorials and financial commentators have criticized gubernatorial candidates for not coming up with explicit plans to resolve pension and retiree health insurance liabilities. From the tone, it appears that the only thing that would satisfy these critics would be to completely dismantle our retirement systems. But the media's push for do-it-your-self-style retirement plans does nothing to offer real, long-term solutions. Public retirement systems have evolved and been modified over a number of years to provide public employees with modest rewards for their years of dedicated service to the residents of Maryland, while also offering the best value to taxpayers.
NEWS
By By Mary Gail Hare | The Baltimore Sun | January 21, 2010
The Baltimore County Council's modest effort at reforming its own pension plan could play a pivotal role in fall elections as criticism continues to mount over a system that far outpaces retirement benefits for working families. The council voted Tuesday to cap pensions at 60 percent of the annual salary, currently $54,000. The bill, drafted by Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, takes effect Feb. 1 and applies to anyone who joins the seven-member panel after that date , but not to the current members.
NEWS
October 26, 2005
General Motors CEO Rick Waggoner last week said bankruptcy isn't an option for the troubled automaker. But recent events at least raise that ominous possibility: GM's continuing losses, its pension liabilities for thousands of employees of its bankrupt parts supplier, its deal with the auto workers union undoing free health insurance for workers and retirees, and hints of more problems ahead, including perhaps for GM's pensions. And that, in turn, underscores a dramatically growing financial burden shared by all taxpayers, one for which movement toward congressional relief is now disappointingly stalled.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun | October 18, 2010
Calling the Baltimore County Council's efforts to reform its own pensions "very anemic," Republican candidates for county offices pledged Monday to rein in elected officials' benefits if voters elect enough of them to office Nov. 2. Public anger about county pension benefits erupted last year when Councilman Vincent J. Gardina announced he would retire in 2010, after 20 years in the council, with a pension equal to 100 percent of his $54,000 annual...
NEWS
July 19, 2013
I see that our mayor wants new employees to settle for a 401(k) pension plans ("Rawlings-Blake seeks to switch new employees from pensions to 401(k)-style plans," July 15). I understand why there should be exceptions for the police and fire departments. They put their lives on the line. But the new plan should apply to elected officials. If the plan isn't good enough for them, you can be sure it's not a good plan. I'm tired of elected officials, including the mayor, thinking that they are so special that they don't have to live within their means.
NEWS
February 18, 2013
Two hundred million dollars has been diverted from Maryland state employees' pension funds in 2013. The government's deception is abominable. House Republicans are offering three pension reform proposals, and I encourage everyone to call their delegates to get them on board behind the Prudent Pension Management Act, the State Employee Pension Choice Act and the Fairness in Pension Government Act. Gini Spicer, Crownsville Text NEWS to...
NEWS
February 13, 2013
Sometimes it seems that Baltimore is politically comatose. As this well written Sun editorial points out ("A wake-up call for the city," Feb. 8), real estate taxes are double that of the next highest municipality, income taxes are higher than any other municipality and at the legal limit, and schools and infrastructure are crumbling. We have a firmly entrenched bloated government bureaucracy which spends 20 percent of its budget on legacy costs and has $3.2 billion of unfunded pension liabilities.
NEWS
September 23, 2012
Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police is celebrating what is, at most, a Pyrrhic victory in its effort to reverse the pension reforms Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the City Council enacted two years ago. Federal Judge Marvin J. Garbis' ruling that a key provision of the reform plan was unconstitutional appears to mean that the entire law has been struck down. But his ruling also made clear that the vast majority of the provisions in the law are permissible and that even in the part he objected to, a slight change in the plan's design could meet the city's fiscal objectives without violating the Constitution.
NEWS
July 24, 2012
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz writes in his op-ed "Keeping public employee benefits in check" (July 22) that the county needs to keep "finding efficiencies to fund additional costs. " Well what about the efficiency of him not double dipping the county pension system to the tune of $168,000 on a provision in the pension guidelines that was meant only to try and retain retiring experienced school bus drivers? After the Sun broke the story, he has remained silent! As a Baltimore County resident and taxpayer, I consider it outright dishonesty to line his personal pockets.
NEWS
June 11, 2012
In her latest column on public pensions, "Shifting pension burden means higher taxes" (June 6) Marta Mossburg conflates a number of issues and misses some important facts. Ignoring last year's pension reform that puts the system on a path for sustainability (80 percent funding by fiscal year 2023 and 100 percent funding in fiscal year 2030), she instead advances and relies on a study - based neither on historical experience nor a methodology appropriate to a governmental entity - that claims each Maryland household will be on the hook for an extra $818 in taxes every year for the next 30 years to fully fund the system.
NEWS
September 11, 1995
A year ago, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary promised to make pension reform a central goal of his administration. Last week, he delivered. His most ballyhooed proposal -- taking away retirement benefits from high-ranking officials, including those already retired, who profited from a too-generous 1989 pension plan for elected leaders and appointees -- overshadows other plans that are equally important to taxpayers and the county's 3,500 workers:...
NEWS
Marta H. Mossburg | April 10, 2012
State legislators often prioritize important legislation the way kindergartners rank vegetables among the food groups. They focus on media-friendly social legislation instead of structural reform requiring time and effort to understand and craft. Why, for example, did they pass gay marriage and a law regulating how long a child must face rearward in a car seat but not figure out the budget until the absolute last minute? And why didn't they spend time this year on how to pay the pensions of the 373,000 people in the state retirement system?
NEWS
March 8, 2012
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's political blind spot on the issue of pensions apparently knows no bounds. A man who has secured for himself and some of his closest political associates a retirement benefit far beyond what ordinary county workers would be allowed is, once again, seeking to reduce the benefits for others. First, he pushed legislation in Annapolis that would reduce benefits for county workers who had previously been employed by the state or another local government, and now he is trying to do so for a group of union laborers in the Department of Public Works and other agencies.
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