Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said this morning that Gov. Martin O'Malley will try to push some of the cost of teacher pension to the locals, but would not say how much. Those details are expected to leak out today as the governor briefs fiscal leaders on his FY2013 spending plan.
Miller has long advocated for the counties to pick up some of the pension costs. When asked if he was pleased with O'Malley's position, Miller said: "Very much so."
Miller said that O'Malley is "recognizes this is a fair and equitable way to assist the counties while at the same time balancing the budget." Miller noted that O'Malley is going to send the local additional funding this year in school construction money. "He's providing more resources to the counties," Miller said.
Still, Miller said that he wishes the governor would go further. "I would have preferred more," Miller said. He suggested that O'Malley, a former Baltimore city mayor, has a soft spot for county and city leaders. "The governor is still of the counties and he wants to be sure they are still taken care of."
Two years ago the Senate passed a measure that would have shifted the costs over several years, with the counties picking up $63 million in the first year and $337 million by year three. That effort failed in the House.
Last year O'Malley said that he wanted to "fix" the pension system, making it more "sustainable" before pushing costs to the locals. The General Assembly passed a package that reduced benefits for new hires.