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NEWS
February 19, 2013
In her recent column, Marta Mossburg opines that the state pension system's assumed rate of return of 7.75 percent is unrealistic, pointing to last year's earnings of 0.36 percent as proof ("On state pensions, 'Everyone else is doing it' is no excuse," Feb. 13). Interestingly, she failed to mention the system's 20 percent earnings in fiscal year 2011 and 14 percent in fiscal 2010. That data didn't fit her narrative. Ms. Mossburg and other critics of the pension system seem to have difficulty acknowledging the reality that the assumed rate of return is based on a long-term horizon.
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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.
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NEWS
By Thomas W. Waldron and Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer | January 22, 1995
Former Gov. Harry R. Hughes says the state owes him about $250,000 in back pension payments, and he is suing the state retirement board to get a 17-year-old decision reversed.Mr. Hughes is challenging the board's 1978 decision to withhold his pension -- earned during his 22 years as a legislator and transportation secretary -- while he was governor from 1979 to 1987."I earned it. It's just a question of whether I'm entitled to it or not," Mr. Hughes, 68, an attorney in Baltimore, said last week.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 22, 2013
The Maryland state employees' pension system reported last week that it grew to more than $40 billion during the 12 months that ended June 30 as it posted a 10.6 percent return on its investments. That performance exceeds both the state's assumption that it would earn 7.75 percent and the 8.6 percent average performance for the types of assets that the fund owns. Pension fund officials pointed to the showing as vindication of its investment strategies, which have been criticized by a conservative think tank.
NEWS
By Robert A. Erlandson and Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer | October 2, 1992
A former football coach turned insurance agent is being sue for allegedly persuading between 100 and 200 Baltimore County teachers and state employees to withdraw from the state pension system and invest in a "pension maximization plan" that was no more than a life insurance policy.The suit has been filed by Richard Eshmont, athletic director at Towson High School, against Carroll T. Giese, Jr., former coach at Woodlawn High School, and the Franklin Life Insurance Co. of Springfield, Ill.Last month, Mr. Eshmont's lawyer asked the Baltimore County Circuit Court to make the suit a class action to include all employees who withdrew their pension contributions to invest in a Franklin program.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and William Patalon III and Michael Dresser and William Patalon III,SUN STAFF | February 14, 2003
A General Assembly committee recommended sweeping changes yesterday in the structure of the state pension board, seeking to beef up its financial expertise after a financial scandal and two years of heavy losses. The Joint Committee on Pensions decided to sponsor legislation that would unseat about half the members of the board and eliminate the election of employee representatives. The recommendations, which were adopted unanimously, will go to the House of Delegates and state Senate for hearings.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | January 12, 2002
Over the objections of state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, a state pension board committee agreed yesterday to accept a General Assembly recommendation to hire an independent investment consultant. The action comes after the retirement system lost $3 billion last year, finishing last in a national ranking of the investment performance of large public pension funds. The pension board's Investment Committee voted to begin the process of seeking bidders on a contract to advise the $28.4 billion retirement system, which covers 300,000 state employees, public school teachers and retirees.
NEWS
By Alec MacGillis and Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF | May 25, 2002
William E. Kirwan, the state's new universities chancellor, will earn $100,000 per year in addition to his $375,000 salary to make up for his not being able to collect a Maryland pension while chancellor, according to documents released yesterday. Kirwan, 64, collects a sizable state pension from his 34 years of employment at the University of Maryland, including 10 years as the university's president. Under Maryland law, he cannot collect a state pension and state salary at the same time.
BUSINESS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | September 17, 2003
The Maryland state employees' pension system hired a veteran money manager from Connecticut yesterday as its chief investment officer, replacing an official who lost her job after a multimillion-dollar fraud took place on her watch. Steven C. Huber, 44, was chosen from a field of 70 applicants, said Thomas K. Lee, pension system executive director. Huber, director of fixed income with Aeltus Investment Management, succeeds Carol Boykin, who was forced out in April. In the $115,000-a-year job, Huber will oversee the investment strategy of a $27.1 billion retirement system that provides pensions for 96,000 state employees.
NEWS
By Joel Obermayer and Marina Sarris and Joel Obermayer and Marina Sarris,Sun Staff Writers | August 1, 1994
While Maryland and Baltimore have been battling smoking -- with measures ranging from a state ban on smoking in workplaces to a city restriction on billboard ads -- their employee pension funds have been holding tens of millions of dollars in tobacco company investments.The state fund has $112 million in stocks and bonds in tobacco companies such as Philip Morris Cos., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, and RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., which produces Camels. Baltimore's pension fund holds more than $23 million in similar investments.
NEWS
February 25, 2013
Marta Mossburg once again gets it wrong on public employee pensions, incorrectly claiming the state pension system suffered a poor rate of return ("On state pensions, 'Everyone else is doing it' is no excuse," Feb. 13). She does this by cherry picking a few numbers and willfully ignoring the most important facts. The fact of the matter is our state pension system earned nearly 8 percent over the past 25 years, earning 20 percent in 2011 and 14 percent in 2010. Why is it important to look at long term performance vs. year-to-year?
NEWS
February 19, 2013
In her recent column, Marta Mossburg opines that the state pension system's assumed rate of return of 7.75 percent is unrealistic, pointing to last year's earnings of 0.36 percent as proof ("On state pensions, 'Everyone else is doing it' is no excuse," Feb. 13). Interestingly, she failed to mention the system's 20 percent earnings in fiscal year 2011 and 14 percent in fiscal 2010. That data didn't fit her narrative. Ms. Mossburg and other critics of the pension system seem to have difficulty acknowledging the reality that the assumed rate of return is based on a long-term horizon.
NEWS
Marta H. Mossburg | February 12, 2013
In 1931, economist John Maynard Keynes lamented, "A sound banker, alas, is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him. " Substitute "state treasurer" and "pension board member" for "banker" in the quote and it describes someone who oversees a state retirement and pension system whose 350,000 members either rely on it in...
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | January 29, 2013
Republicans in the House of Delegates proposed legislation Tuesday that they say would shore up the state employee pension system while cutting the risk that taxpayers will be left on the hook for losses. The House GOP leadership is backing a package of bills that would, among other things, steer the $40 billion system away from what Republicans consider overly risky investments and lower the long-term assumptions of the retirement plan's earnings on its investments. "The rose-colored-glasses projection of our pension system is deceptive to the citizens of Maryland," said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell of Calvert County.
NEWS
By Christopher B. Summers | August 21, 2012
The past decade taught Americans of all political stripes an expensive lesson: When big institutions face financial crisis, the federal government bails them out. Wall Street? The federal government stepped in with the Troubled Asset Relief Program. General Motors? Uncle Sam again. Greece, Spain and Portugal? Germany will keep them afloat. Now a new crisis looms, and, if past is precedent, Marylanders have reason to worry. State-run pension systems across the country are underfunded to the tune of $2.5 trillion — equivalent to one-sixth of the American economy.
NEWS
August 12, 2012
Your recent editorial concerning public employee pensions and the transition to defined contribution plans ignores some significant principles ("Prudence and public pensions," July 20). Your opinion described "risk" as a "financial albatross. " Yet nowhere in the editorial was "trust" mentioned. As retired public school educators representing other retired Maryland educators, we find this to be a serious oversight. A defined benefit retirement plan, when well designed, managed and administered, strives to lower the "risk" by smoothing out the financial markets' gyrations over an extended period of time.
NEWS
July 12, 1997
STATE WORKERS AND public-school teachers had better pay more attention to what's happening (or not happening) on their pension-retirement board. Some troubling developments indicate that far more public visibility of issues before the retirement panel might help avoid some embarrassing and costly pitfalls.Take the exorbitant fees imposed on 35,000 state employees who put money into their private retirement savings accounts. For much of the past two decades, the board permitted the Public Employees Benefit Services Corp.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF | December 18, 2002
Peter Vaughn, chief executive of Maryland's troubled state employee pension system, resigned under pressure yesterday -- taking medical retirement at the age of 46. Vaughn, executive director of the State Retirement Agency since 1993, submitted his resignation at the monthly meeting of the state pension board. The trustees released a statement saying they accepted the State Medical Board's recommendation of a disability retirement "with reluctance and deep regret." They noted that Vaughn suffers from a chronic back condition and has undergone two major operations in recent years.
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
February 12, 2012
I would like Gov.Martin O'Malleyto explain why citizens who no longer have pension plans or retiree medical and prescription benefits through their employers are forced to continue to pay for state employee pensions and retiree health coverage. We should be able to use the tax dollars currently directed toward these generous state employee benefit programs to save for our own retirement just as state employees should be saving for their own retirement. Marilyn Lewis
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