Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hurson Weighs in on Teacher Pensions

Hoisted from the comments: Former Delegate and House Majority Leader John Hurson (D-18) weighs in on the controversy over teacher pensions.

I hesitate to weigh in on this controversy but Adam is doing such a great job of imitating Blair Lee's usual flogging of the county's Annapolis delegation, I can't resist. Senator Madaleno's proposal on teacher pension funding may not be to the liking of many, but it was a smart move at the right time.

The teacher pension issue (Montgomery County's state share of funding tops all other jurisdictions shares) has been a Montgomery County liability in Annapolis for decades. I was a freshman delegate in 1992 when the state shifted teacher's Social Security payment responsibility to the counties. Everyone in the Montgomery County delegation strongly opposed the shift, but the legislature did it (to us!) anyway. It was not pleasant. The teacher pension issue has been sitting there ready for the same treatment for over two decades.

Senator Madaleno knows a train wreck when he sees it coming, and the inevitable shift to local jurisdictions of these costs was coming. The only question was "how" it was going to be done. By getting out ahead of this change and managing it's implementation he has done a very difficult, but important thing for the county.

Sure, we would all like to believe that somehow ( persuasion, pressure, mutual friends) we could avoid this change. Yes, there is alot of deception and delusion in Annapolis. But believing this change was not going to happen is self delusion and would get us right to where we were on the shift to the locals of teacher Social Security payments in 1992--embarrassed, isolated and paying for it anyway under implementation conditions that were very difficult for the county. Senator Madaleno has managed to gain leverage for the county by his proposal, and has put us at the table as the plan gets drafted. In Annapolis, we call that leadership.