If there's any surprise in the governor's effort to shift teacher pensions to local governments, it's that it has taken him so long to do it. The state has long struggled with a gap between how much it has committed to spend and how much it takes in. Teacher pensions are a growing part of that problem; with no reforms, they would cost the state $957 million in the next fiscal year, nearly the entire amount of the budget deficit. Many members of the General Assembly, led by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, have long advocated shifting some of the cost of teacher pensions to local jurisdictions, and they have a winning policy argument for doing so. School boards and local governments set teacher salaries, but they don't have to consider the cost of pensions. The result is that, by and large, counties with the strongest local tax bases pay their teachers more and benefit disproportionately from state spending on teacher pensions. That's exactly the opposite of how other state education spending is allocated.