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NEWS
February 16, 2014
In his State of the Union address, President Obama overlooked what should be a major priority for Washington: finding a suitable alternative to the proposed unfair cuts to veterans' pensions ( "Lawmakers take another look at military retiree cut," Jan. 5). Veterans actually earned these benefits through years of service, which is more than one can say for most government spending. Why not cut the budgets for lavish government agency conferences? There are other extravagances that could and should go on the chopping block.
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NEWS
August 25, 2014
As a retiree, I read William Smith's recent letter to the editor with equal parts amazement and sadness ( "Who needs those lazy retirees?" Aug. 19). Amazement at the level of vitriol displayed, and sadness because it appears that Mr. Smith's education did not include a rigorous course in English usage, during which he would have become familiar with the definitions of the words "handout" and "welfare. " Let me attempt to fill this lamentable gap. According to Oxforddictionaries.com, a handout is "something given free to a needy person," and welfare is "financial support given to people in need.
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NEWS
February 7, 2012
Gov.Martin O'Malleyis currently promoting gay marriage legislation. He stated that "one does not have to be an advocate for same-sex marriage in order to support equal rights under the law. " Hopefully, Governor O'Malley will now support equal rights for workers by supporting taxpayer-funded pensions for all working Marylanders. Currently, only a privileged group of people, such as teachers and government employees, are receiving taxpayer-funded pensions. Expanded pension coverage will ensure that millions of Maryland workers will have the income they need in their retirement years to escape poverty and pay for medical care.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | August 19, 2014
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan told residents of a retirement community Tuesday night that he wants to eliminate all state income taxes on pensions before the end of his administration. Hogan unveiled the proposal in response to a question from a resident, one of about 500 people who attended a gubernatorial forum at Charlestown in Baltimore County, where the GOP nominee and Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown spoke. Both men struck familiar themes for most of the evening until Hogan told the seniors that after he cut spending and got the economy under control, his priority would be to slash the taxes they pay. His promise earned him the loudest applause of the night for either candidate.
EXPLORE
January 26, 2012
Editor: The Aegis' recent editorial, "A lot of money" errs in stating that "county school boards — with no input from the state — negotiate pension and salary packages with the teachers unions. " The fact is pension benefits are established in statute by the Maryland General Assembly. They are not negotiable at the county level and are not subject to change unless action is taken by the Legislature. To be clear, teacher salaries are negotiated, established and paid for by the counties, while the pension benefits—based on a statutory formula determined in part by those salaries—are paid by the state.
NEWS
September 9, 2010
Wanted: Political candidates willing to sponsor legislation for pension reform. The practice of governments continuing to provide pension benefits to selected part-time and contractual individuals needs to stop. These individuals also known as our legislators should be treated no differently than other part-time or contractual government employees. Their earnings from the position should end when their term ends. If they wish to be career politicians, I suggest they invest wisely. William Miller, Fallston
NEWS
October 23, 2013
Gubernatorial candidates David R. Craig and Doug F. Gansler promise tax breaks for pensioners, so why is it OK for politicians to discriminate against all other retirees living in Maryland? ("Craig, Gansler pledge tax breaks for pensioners," Oct. 18). I have lived in Maryland for 66 years and paid taxes. I worked for 47 years before retiring. My taxes have paid for the pensions of thousands of government employees who never paid into their own pensions. J. Heming, Baltimore
NEWS
January 21, 2012
I read with interest of Gov.Martin O'Malley's efforts to ditch the state's obligation to pay its fair share of teachers' pensions ("Budget to shift pension burden," Jan. 18). The state has failed to make it's contractual contributions to the teachers' pension fund for years. I pay over $300 every two weeks into the fund and have been contributing to it for years. In all of the discussions, arguments and news accounts of this issue, those facts are hardly ever reported by anyone.
NEWS
March 5, 2014
Gov. Martin O'Malley is now trying to take my money. That's right, my money. I worked 40 years putting money into the state's retirement system, and now because Governor O'Malley can't manage Maryland's budget, he is going to take what I've worked for over 40 years ( "Franchot, Kopp fight transfer of pension money," Feb. 26). He already bankrupted the state's transportation trust fund by "borrowing" funds to balance the budget and then turned around and raised taxes on gasoline and raised tolls.
NEWS
August 17, 2014
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan's ideas concerning exempting police pensions from state income tax has the advantage of getting those pensioners to remain in the state of Maryland after retirement ( "Pension pandering," Aug. 13). Those same pensioners will continue to pay taxes such as sales, gasoline, the so-called rain tax, property and all the others that burden Marylanders. Without this incentive many retirees vote "with their feet" and leave the state and end up paying nothing into Maryland's coffers.
NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | August 17, 2014
The city of Annapolis has named dozens of retired police officers and firefighters in a federal lawsuit, the latest tactic in a decade-long legal battle over changes to retiree pensions. In court filings last week, the city asked a judge to rule that a recent switch to an annual 2 percent cost-of-living increase for retirees — instead of a previous sliding scale tied to city employee raises — is legal. Attorney Eric Paltell, who represents the city in the case, said a ruling is needed because, "the retirees have made it crystal clear that they do not believe this is legal.
NEWS
August 17, 2014
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan's ideas concerning exempting police pensions from state income tax has the advantage of getting those pensioners to remain in the state of Maryland after retirement ( "Pension pandering," Aug. 13). Those same pensioners will continue to pay taxes such as sales, gasoline, the so-called rain tax, property and all the others that burden Marylanders. Without this incentive many retirees vote "with their feet" and leave the state and end up paying nothing into Maryland's coffers.
NEWS
August 15, 2014
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's actions regarding city pensions show why Baltimore City will never be able to obtain and keep qualified police and fire personnel ("Federal court upholds mayor's pension overhaul," Aug. 6). When people come on a job they sign a contract that outlines what they will receive for their services when they retire. Throughout their careers contracts are renegotiated and each party expects the other to abide by the terms agreed on. However, this mayor has ignored what was promised to retirees.
NEWS
August 13, 2014
Regarding your recent editorial on Baltimore City pensions, contrary to wanting to battle instead of negotiate the issue of COLAs, the unions have been trying to negotiate from day one and even came up with comparable plans. It was the mayor who absolutely was not interested in negotiating - this was what she wanted, end of story ( "End the city pension fight," Aug. 7). Furthermore, Local 734 has pleaded every step of the way for the mayor to sit and negotiate to bring an end to this dispute outside of court, as it is a huge cost to union members.
NEWS
August 13, 2014
Baltimore's Police and Fire unions pay more into their pension fund than any other city unions. When the city enacted legislation to basically freeze cost of living raises for fire and police until the age of 55 with a paltry 1 percent raise, then 2 percent at 62, it was not only age discrimination but breech of contract. They even froze cost of living increases for fire and police injured in the line of duty. What is so shameful about the whole thing is that the politicians still managed to fully fund their pension system while still giving daily cost of living increases to retired politicians.
NEWS
August 12, 2014
In a particularly naked bit of pandering, Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan appeared before the state Fraternal Order of Police this week as part of its process of determining its endorsement in the fall election and promised to exempt law enforcement officers' pensions from the state income tax. As intuitively appealing as it might seem to help those who have served, it's a bad idea. To his credit, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, the Democratic candidate, appeared before the same groups a day later and said he would not make that promise, preferring to seek comprehensive tax reform that benefits the middle class rather than making promises to every group.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey | annie.linskey@baltsun.com | March 28, 2010
A spending committee in the House of Delegates has rejected a proposal that would have eventually transferred about $337 million in teacher pension costs from the state to local governments, stalling a Senate-approved plan to help balance Maryland's budget. The House Appropriations Committee recommended on Friday a study of the implications of the cost shift, instead of beginning the effort next year. "A step of that magnitude could only be done after a comprehensive study," said Del. Norman Conway, and Eastern Shore Democrat and head of the spending committee.
NEWS
September 25, 2012
The Sun editorial ("In defeat, a victory," Sept. 24) claims that the City of Baltimore was within its rights to make unilateral changes to fire and police pensions. Federal Judge Marvin Garbis ruled that the city ordinance was unconstitutional. It appears that the editorial board at the Sun believes contracts are made to be broken. In 2009, the fire officers, fire fighters and the Fraternal Order of Police approached the city administration with a proposal that would have saved Baltimore over $80 million in pension costs.
NEWS
August 7, 2014
Their loss Wednesday in a federal appeals court left Baltimore's police and fire unions with a few options to continue the fight over Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's 2010 pension reform law, but none of them look promising. Rather than subject themselves and the taxpayers to potentially years more litigation in federal and state court, the unions should recognize that the bulk of the 2010 law is going to stand and seek a settlement with the city on the one portion of the reforms on which they have met some success.
NEWS
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | August 6, 2014
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's overhaul of Baltimore's police and fire pension system, but left open avenues for the unions to keep fighting. "I'm certainly pleased with the court's ruling," Rawlings-Blake said of the decision. City officials say it cut about $400 million in pension costs by reducing benefits, raising the retirement age and requiring higher contributions from workers. "It was not something any of us wanted to do," the mayor said.
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