Teachers union proposes pension changes

The state teachers union has proposed revised pension changes as an alternative to the retirement shifts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee in the budget plan that the House of Delegates tentatively approved Wednesday night.

According to a written statement from the Maryland State Education Association, union leaders have been discussing the plan with legislative leaders and Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration.

The MSEA plan combines higher employee contributions and lower cost-of-living adjustments. The statement claims the plan results in $160 million in first-year savings — identical to those in the governor’s proposal. Savings would grow annually.

“We’ve offered to pay more and accept a slightly lower benefit, and that combination provides an alternative that saves every bit as much,” said MSEA Executive Director David Helfman.
MSEA’s plan would reach the target of 80% funded status at nearly the same time as the governor’s proposal.
The teachers’ plan includes:
A two-year phase-in, raising employee contribution rates from 5 to 7%

  • Lowering the 3% COLA to 2%
  • Accepting the governor’s proposed increases in early and normal retirement ages
  • Provisions that keep people from “spiking” the system — deferring raises or other compensation increases to increase pension benefits above what they should receive according to their salary histories.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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