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Governor's Is Not The Last Word On Teacher Pensions In Md.

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In Maryland, many local leaders are happy with Gov. Martin O'Malley's pledge to not share the burden of teacher pensions between the state and county governments, a move that was looked at to help close Maryland's budget deficit.

While O'Malley says he will not push to share pensions, he did tell a gathering of the Maryland Association of Counties he sees the argument behind doing so.

"There is no privity of contract between the teachers' contracts that they make with their school boards, and the state of Maryland that is funding 100 percent of these costs," he says.

Senate president Mike Miller is one of the biggest supporters of sharing pensions for that reason. But local politicians like Montgomery County council member Phil Andrews say legislators are to blame for rising pension costs, even though the state has no hand in negotiating the contracts with teachers.

"It is the general assembly that increased the pension benefit by 29 percent in an election year, 2006, and made it retroactive by eight years. And that clearly contributed to what has gone on since," Andrews says.

Sharing pensions would explode budget deficits facing local governments. In Montgomery County, it could increase a $300 million deficit by over $80 million.

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