November 6, 2013
A new poll found strong public support for increasing Maryland's minimum wage to $10 an hour, a step being pushed for the upcoming General Assembly session.
The poll by Goucher College also found the majority of the Maryland public regards current pensions for retired state employees as too low, and also thinks all Maryland workers, not just those employed by the state or local governments, should have a pension. [...more]
October 30, 2013
The money Maryland's state and local governments have failed to set aside to fulfill pension promises made to teachers and employees has ballooned to more than $22.5 billion over the past five years, a new report has found.
But the counties that run their own pension systems are in much better shape than the state of Maryland, with the exception of Prince George's County.
The most under-funded retirement benefits continue to be health insurance for these retirees, which amount to $28 billion for state and local governments. Only a handful of county governments have tried to sock money away. [...more]
July 17, 2013
The Maryland state pension system achieved a 10.6% return on its investment portfolio for the fiscal year that ended June 30, bringing the fund assets to a total of $40.2 billion, Chief Investment Officer Melissa Moye told the pension trustees Tuesday.
The return exceeded the system's target of 7.75% annual return, and was far better than the dismal results of less than 1% for fiscal 2012. [...more]
July 15, 2013
The governor and state treasurer cheered Maryland's retention of its AAA bond ratings released Friday, and the three New York rating agencies continued their praise of Maryland's high incomes, diversified economy and strong fiscal management.
But the agencies, which have given their top ratings to Maryland for decades, also sounded what have become routine warnings about the state's dependence on federal spending in an era of cutbacks and sequestration. They continued to worry about the state's high pension liabilities, particularly compared to the other eight states that also get AAA ratings. [...more]
June 19, 2013
The state pension board on Tuesday lowered its target for investment return on the $41 billion retirement fund from 7.75% to 7.55%, a move it's been considering for over a year
The 14-member Board of Trustees of the State Retirement and Pension System also lowered its projection of inflation from 3% a year to 2.8%, and phased in both steps over the next four years. [...more]
April 17, 2013
The outside advisor for the Maryland pension system told its Board of Trustees Tuesday that he was "very disappointed" that the legislature reduced the state's payment into the retirement fund by $100 million in budget action this month. The money comes from $300 million in added contributions of state employees and teachers passed in 2011. It is being set aside for the possible federal budget cuts from sequestration. [...more]
April 7, 2013
A $36.9 billion state budget for fiscal 2014 easily passed the House of Delegates and state Senate Friday, with less Republican opposition than last year. The budget raises overall spending 3% and is $500 million less than Gov. Martin O'Malley originally proposed, largely by setting aside funds in case federal budget cuts impact state revenues. [...more]
March 14, 2013
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted Thursday to cut $100 million in contributions to the State Retirement and Pension System for fiscal 2014. The committee tied the unexpected move to passage of legislation that will eventually ensure the state puts aside enough money for employee and teachers pensions. But the cut also adds a year to achieving long-term funding goals for those pensions. [...more]
March 13, 2013
A legislator who has spent his career as a financial advisor and investor is seeking to force the state pension system to limit what he sees as risky investments in private equity, hedge funds and other alternative assets.
The investment managers at the State Retirement Agency told the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday that Del. Steve Schuh's legislation, HB819, will mean lower returns on investment and less diversification for the $38 billion fund that pays for pensions for teachers and state employees. [...more]
February 20, 2013
Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill to cut the expected rate of return on Maryland $38 billion pension investment portfolio -- a move that would effectively add billions of dollars to the state’s pension liabilities. The move to reduce what the GOP considers an unrealistic 7.75% rate to something like the corporate rate several points below that drew strong opposition from the State Retirement Agency at a hearing Tuesday. [...more]