A shift in teacher pensions that would create an additional $47 million in costs to Montgomery County in the next budget year has been avoided, according to a report by The Gazette.
"Both the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates passed budgets that shift only the “normal” costs of teacher pensions, meaning the amount needed to pay pension liabilities if the system hadn’t been underfunded in the past," the report states, with the $19 billion unfunded liability remaining on the books for the state.
Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed plan would shift half the cost of teacher pensions to the state’s counties, combining teacher pensions and teacher social security costs.
Montgomery County Councilmembers voiced their collective displeasure with O'Malley's plan in a Feb. 23 statement.
“How much is $47 million? It pays for the jobs of nearly 500 teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other vital county personnel,” reads the statement. “It is more than the county's general fund budgets for housing, transportation, and environmental protection combined. Our entire budget for libraries is less than $30 million.”
Joseph Beach, the county's finance director, told The Gazette the shift would have a negative effect on the county's credit and overall financial condition.
What do you think of the Maryland Senate's and House of Delegates' decision to keep the $19 billion unfunded liability on the state budget books, rather than shifting parts of it to the county level? Tell us in the comments.