Thousands Rally While Governor Considers Cuts To Keep State Moving

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland’s top leaders are crunching the numbers to keep the state moving.  Budget talks in Annapolis are heating up again. Thousands of protesters rallied against planned cuts to state worker benefits in Annapolis Monday.

Andrea Fujii reports Governor Martin O’Malley says there is a $35 billion shortfall for state union workers’ benefits, so there must be change, but thousands of unionized state employees say the governor has turned his back on them.

Unionized employees flocked to Annapolis telling legislators to keep their hands off worker benefits, specifically pensions.

The governor says cuts may be necessary.

“We must also fix and save our state’s pension system, which has fallen out of the balance by threatening the long-term stability of our state finances,” said O’Malley.

“The commitment to us was that we would have a living wage, that we would have reasonable health benefits and that we would have support after 30 years of hard work,” said Tami Metz, Social Services worker.

Workers came in on more than 75 buses and they weren’t alone.

A small group of taxpayers also showed up saying the union is being too greedy.

“As taxpayers, that’s not OK for us to watch a bullying entity threaten legislators into not being wise about legislating,” said Cindy Sharretts from Harford County.

“I sympathize with them. I’m a worker, too. But nobody is paying my pension. We’ve all got to contribute to our own retirement,” said Lynn Beiber from Bowie.

This isn’t the only issue lawmakers have on their plate.

The House of Delegates will soon begin debate on a bill, which would give in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants under certain conditions.

That proposal cleared the state Senate late Monday night. Meanwhile, committee hearings get underway Tuesday on other bills, including increased regulation on abortion clinics and another that would do away with the death penalty.

Supporters of repealing the death penalty say they have the momentum to get it passed now. The governor in Illinois just signed a similar bill into law a few days ago.

A total of 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, now ban the death penalty.

  • Wheres common sense when you need it

    I am sure a bill cutting the pay and pension benefits of the state representitives and senate members is the very next bill that will pass. I am sure that with the current situatuion with the budget that these people will stand up and make the tough sacrafices that they expect the general public to face. I am sure that all of these people in office would gladly lower their pay to $45K a year since it is so easy for everyone else to live comfortably within that pay scale. Oh I forgot, these are selfish, hipocriticial politicians, not stand up people. My fault.

    • Wolf

      We Need To Start Protesting, Not Sitting Around Complaining
      Our leaders don’t give a hoot about our welfare and so forth. If they did, there be fair taxes, finding ways to lower water and energy rates, help the poor who strugglging to keep their home and put food on the table, imporve education, creating new jobs, and not giving away our money to illegal immigrants that have no right to our benifits and pay for their education. The leaders claim they need money, yet give it away to non-native nor non-american people who live here and throughout America. But no one putting their foot down, only sitting back and complaining. Well words are words, action is action. You can put those words to use, and write your local and country leaders and hope for change, or do nothing and find yourself homeless and jobless? Then their is protesting in front of your leaders place of work. Being present is more effective than not being there.

  • overtaxed

    Unsustainable means unsustainable. See the power of the union? They can force our gouvernment to pay public employees unsustainable benefits on the back of private sector employees who cannot dream of getting the same benefits.

    Public employees need to get in the real world.

    • Ken

      Yeah lets blame the workers for the mismanagement of the politicians…you need to get in the real world…public sector employees live in the same world you live in and pay the same taxes but for the last five years have had pay cuts and furlough days and increases in insurance premiums with increses in deductibles…find facts before you make judgements…

      • Jackie

        Private sector employees have had pay cuts and lay offs, not just wage freezes. My husband has been working with a 5% cut over the last few years, and those above him took a 7-10% cut. His company had to consolidate to stay afloat and a lot of people got laid off. Our insurance premiums doubled this year with less coverage, and higher copayments, so we had to move to a HSA plan with a high deductible, and you know what? I’m just happy he has a job. People in the real world don’t take their jobs for granted, because they see what is happening to so many people around them. They would never demand the impossible or expect their company to bankrupt itself on their behalf. The behavior and expectations of the state unions is absurd. If you look at their salaries, they do not make below what people in the private sector make. school administrators make 6 figure salaries. Teachers make near that at the point of retirement. The state teachers’ association is throwing a hissy fit because the Dept. of Legislative Services says that to keep the pensions solvent, employer contributions to the pension system should be capped at 20%, or the employees should contribute 7 instead of 5%. Really? I’ve never heard of a private sector job where an employer will contribute anywhere near 20% towards a person’s retirement. Their solution is to raise taxes on the parents of the kids they teach, parents who are struggling to clothe, feed, and keep a roof over the heads of the students they claim to care so much about. It’s pure selfishness, an entitlement mentality that has been created by the unions. I feel sorry for the kids, because this generation is certainly not concerned with creating a better future for them. They are only interested in grabbing as much as they can for themselves, and to hell with the state budget and everyone else. As a teacher myself, I am ashamed of this behavior. Last year, O’Malley borrowed from the transportation fund to balance the budget. Funding to local governments for roads was cut as a result. What will he take this year to balance the budget and keep the unions happy?

      • Ken

        The reason for the furlough days, wage freeze (4 yrs so far), increase in insurance premiums along with an increase in co-payments was to avoid layoffs. The public sector employees at the state and local level make less then their private sector counterparts. Search public sector vs private sector and do some reading. The problem with the system is mismanagement of taxpayer money which all middle class workers pay. I do not have a problem with the politicians, who are the elected managers, saying that something needs to be done but they need to understand and their first action is to take from the workforce. This happens in both the private and public sectors. The problem that I have with this is there are many other areas with which they can appropriate this money.They choose to give it to special interest groups and voting blocks so they can get re-elected I am sure that most of the public sector employees took a lower paying job for tthe security that comes with it and second the benefits because it certainly is not the wage, at thew middle class level.

      • overtaxed

        Pay taxes sure, but what they have leftover is taxpayer dollars, 3 dollars of taxpayer money for every 1 dollar given back. The private sector has to deal with layoffs, where public employees have only had furlough days. What public employees have that private sector does not is job security. Public employees whine about alot, but don’t seem to be thankful for the job that rides on the back of private sector. My facts are quite clear. I am not blaming workers, but the workers need to understand that they need to make sacrifices.

        Unsustainable means unsustainable.

    • Rainman

      Do you actually believe what comes out of O’Malley’s mouth? He is taking the easy way out. Place blame and point at the men and women he leads. It is easy for him to do this. He is a politician. Take a good look at the ones you see in the fire engines, police cars, classrooms or on the public works crews. Do you really think that THEY are the problem. I think not. The problem is in the state houses and city halls all arounf the country. And the Feds are the worst offenders in mismanagement. Most public sector unions do not have coolective barganing in their agreements. That’s what most have, agreements not contracts. They do not have the same type of contracts that the steel workers or auto workers had or have. But lets blame the little guy. Get real.

    • sunflowergrl

      agree with you. They dont have to pay the same as the private sector workers do. They far more benefits and pay and for less work. Unsustainable means unsustatinable. End of story. The gravy train has dried up. They need to stop whinning and grow up.

      • Fed Up

        Make sure you tell the next firefighter that comes to your house to keep it from being destroyed, the next cop who keeps you safe or the next teacher who is not only trying to teach but also discipling your misbehaved children! Open your eyes! Stop whining? People in the public sector, teachers included nowadays, risk their lives for ungrateful people like you and instead of recognizing the sacrifices they make, you tell them to stop whining! When was the last time you missed out on a family members birthday, a holiday or even a meal for work? They do it all the time, without recognition and get treated like this? You could’ve chosen that line of work and get those benefits but you decided not to so you STOP WHINING! They have made more of impact in their lives than you have and will in yours. Besides, how would you feel if your pension was taken away from you after thirty years of hard work and you have to either continue working there or finding another job? The jobs the cops and firefighters do take a huge toll on their body and health and now you want them to work for another thirty years so you can complain about the poor job performance when they respond to your home to save your worthless A$$

    • Chuck

      Are you serious?? The problem lies with the politicians! It is THEY who should be held accountable to back up the contracts THEY sign! People who are fortunate enough to work at a place with benefits should feel comfortable that their so-called leaders will back up their contracts. You can certainly bet that we have to live by any contracts that WE sign! I know that the O’Malley will be looking to reap the benefits of his pension that each Governor receives for possibly only holding office for 4 years so why shouldn’t any public employee who has to work far longer?

      • overtaxed

        The problem came from politicians making government larger and larger, and needing more and more employees. Add some promises they can’t keep and now we have an unsustainable situation.

        The private sector taxpayer will be the ones held accountable. Many public sector employees forget who funds thier paycheck.

        Ehrlich was very clear in what he said about pension reform: HONOR the existing contracts, he openly stated in one of the debates, BUT create different contracts for new hires. But O’Malley won, probably with a lot of support from the public sector.

        Entitlement based thinking is the last thing this state needs. Take your lumps like everyone else.

      • overtaxed

        Dena I am not saying that because I didn’t get my way, but rather because this issue has been forefront, the sustainability of public employees. 31 billion in shortfalls. Compare that to the 1.6 billion state deficit we are trying to fix, and what they are doing is taxing us. Think of twenty times the size of our current budget mess and that is the pension problem.

        It is frustrating to hear that public employees cannot make concessions for the greater good of everyone, and only thinking of themselves. This issue affects us all, not just public employees.

      • Dena

        Trust me Overtaxed, many public employees get reminded every day who “funds” their paycheck when they expect something to go their way and it doesn’t

  • Teresa

    I cant believe all these cuts fire stations, police, pension benifits really!! money people worked for and they want to take it away because the state is so broke..but…we now have money to pay for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS togo to school.. that is the most rediculous thing i’ve ever heard..were going to give money to people who are breaking the law..we give FREE cell phones to people on welfare have you ever seen the houses of some people on welfare?? way better then most peoples who have worked all their life.. I see crack heads selling her $540 worth of food stamps for her and 1 child for drugs..i see women who get every benifit available while she live with her parents and sits on the porch all day strung out from drugs while the mother sell her pills that her medical assistance pays for, and this state can say to people we dont have money to pay you your pension..your social security..REALLY I think the state needs to look into this welfare reform that was supposed to slowly get people OFF WELFARE why would that ever happen when people get paid to do drugs…its sad to see how our politicians have destroyed our state.. i’ve worked all my life and i’m ready to quite and go on welfare myself so I can stay home all day and have no worrys.. and get fat from all my foodstamps and get money to do drugs or whatever else i want to expaditions buy falt screens yeah i can see why the state thinks people would want to go from welfare to work..get real…not to mention how much of this money is going to ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS…CrAzY!!!!!

    • sunflowergrl

      I agree with you on the part of the illegal immagrints getting stuff. They shouldnt be getting anything but a boot out of the country.

  • Steve

    Hey Governor OMalley, whay do you STOP SPENDING 1.9 BILLION DOLLARS a year to support THOUSANDS of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS hiding in MARYLAND….. Why dont you STOP OFFERING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TAX PAID COLLEGE expected to cost 800,000 the first year and swell to 2.9 MILLION a year…. Hey OMalley why dont you STOP SPENDING Millions a year on CASA, a Group that supports ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, teaches them how to avoid arrest and how to obtain TAX PAID BENEFITS….. We ALL know you are PANDERING for votes to the illegals but NOW ITS RUINING American Citizens loves, hopes and dreams…. Hey OMalley STOP SUPPORTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS with OUR TAXES !!

    • sunflowergrl

      I agree with 100 % there.. I dont support keeping the gravy train going for either the illiegals or the unions.

  • Steve

    If you are a poor American. If you are an American struggling, If you are an American worried about losing your homes. DONT VOTE DEMOCRAT ANY MORE. OMalley is a HUGE SUPPORTER of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. OMalley keeps giving ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Billions in TAX PAID BENEFITS that hurts Americans and encourages MORE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS to enter Maryland to get freebies. They are and WILL go after YOUR Jobs, Your Neighborhoods and take YOUR tax paid benefits. They are willing to steal YOUR Jobs by low ball wages. And OMalley keeps giving them more and more tax paid benefits…. NOW OMalley wants to give then TAX PAID College. YOUR taxes to support their illegal immigrant children in American schools !!! Remember that when you vote ! Everytime an American is laid off due to the budget, remember if OMALLEY was NOT handing over BILLIONS of tax paid dollars to ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS those Americans would not lose their jobs !! Thats a fact !!

  • whatnow

    Yes there are a lot of areas that could be cut, including politicians salary and benefits and everything for illegals. But at the same time, I am in the private sector and our pension plans have been done away with, we only have 5% contributions to 401K’s that you can’t draw on until you are 59 1/2. We pay 25% of our health coverage. For the last 15 years (not 2 or 3), our raises have been next to nothing because of health care costs going up, and for 2 years, no raises at all. Overtime has been strickly forbidden. Why should only private sector jobs bite the bullet. These public jobs have pension plans and job security the rest of us can only dream about. I don’t think raising the retirement age from 55 to 60 is bad at all (I turn 55 this July and cannot imagine being able to retire now). Asking them to pay 7% of health care instead of 5% is nothing. Plus public sector jobs like teachers, firemen and police are not jobs, they are callings, so they have the added benefit of being soul fulfilling as opposed to my energy, life sapping job in the legal industry (not an attorney). So quit whinning and bite the bullet like the rest of us have had to. The country has been run into the ground, and we all must bear the cost now. No more gravy train. (Another place to cut, being an alcoholic or drug addict should NOT qualify you for social security disability!!!!!!)

    • Fed Up

      Job security? Tell that to the public sector employees getting furloughed! Tell that to the Baltimore City Fire Department. When was the last time you were furloughed or your salary was DECREASED by 5%? Funny how you fail to mention that when you reply. And GOD forbid, someone chooses a profession they love and are passionate about. I guess that means they should be punished! People like you amaze me. Wouldn’t you rather have a cop or firefighter show up to your house that was passionate about their job as opposed to someone who doesn’t care and would rather be elsewhere? As far as your enegry zapping job that you have, who chose that for you? So because you’re unhappy with the career path you chose, everyone should suffer… including communities!

      • overtaxed

        Furloughs?? You kept your job. Many people are out of work in the private sector simply were laid off, and probably had little in thier field to fall back on, because Maryland is UNFRIENDLY to business.

        Cops and firefighters, please. You fail to mention the top heavy beuaracracies in Maryland government, and many of those beuaracracies in this state are what keeps the private sector down with heavy regulation and taxes (both of which will become heavier).

        No one is saying piublic employees should suffer, but you guys need to understand just how good you have it and respect those who are funding your paycheck. You may have to make a few concessions to keep your job, like people in the private sector do.

        When people in the private sector are passionate about what they do, there has to be demand for the work, a successful business to employ them, and the business needs to be sustainable. Public sector employees typically do not have to worry nearly as much as those do in the private sector.

      • whatnow

        You miss the point entirely. You must be a government worker.

  • Doug

    Lazy state workers.
    I’ll do your job for half the pay and benefits .
    Totally ignorant of how good you have it,
    compared to the rest of the world.

  • Doug

    They all look grossly over fed, as well.
    From the pictures

  • Bob

    You friggin people voted him in again now deal with it! You didn’t learn your lessons the first four years he was in office and now we all have to bite the bullet again

  • Cathy



    Once again O’Makkey has slapped the tax paying citizens in the face,how long before the wake up call hits and we put him out of office. i for one do not want MY money going to educate someone who ia ILLEGAL. ,then on the other hand cUt the budget for an elderly or a handicapped person who needs it– out of all the assinine things this blind governor has done this takes the cake. If the opportunity arises I am out of this state. I say if o’malley wants to educate someone it should be hisself

  • Herman Glimsher



  • Chuck

    O’Malley is a joke! Giving Illegal immigrants tax benefits to include a college education is totally absurd! STOP giving away our tax dollars to lawbreakers!

  • Ken

    Google public sector vs. private sector for the facts and stop bickering. The problem lies with congress and in the statehouses and city halls across this country. Not with the working middle class. You think the politicians care about us? They are the elite new world order. They enact legislation that they say we need to follow but it does not pertain to them How is that representing us?

  • lwfpe2

    When it came to supporting the unions, our governor supported the unions in Wisconsin. Yet, now they are crunching the numbers for State Employee here, just what Gov. Walker was trying to do in Wisconsin. The shoe is on the other foot now. Our State Workers have endured cuts, furloughs, layoffs and no raises for a number of years. I sympathize with them on having the benefits cuts, but wake up people, in the private sector, we have been paying more and more for years. I do have to say, that reductions in their salaries should not be done and then expect them to pay more in benefits. It’s time for Senators, Delagates, and other elected officials to start biting the bullet also. They should also take a cut in salary also if they expect the employees to and that includes the governor also. Times are tough. The Maryland citizen has done with less and less for years. Now we are expected to cough up the additional 1.6 billion for illegal aliens (the shortfall) and to give certain breaks to the children of illegals going to Community Colleges on the tuition.

  • RC

    The Governor is pathetic. If you so worried about saving the budget & closing the shortfall how about the people down there in Annapolis take a pay cut. We all know that won’t happen. So i feel like if we have to take a cut then so should you guys. Fair is fair. If you so serious about saving money then you guys set the standard cut your benefits as well.

  • Kay

    There were 181 buses, not 75. Where is the video clip of the state employees comments? To the woman who said that nobody is paying for her pension, 80% of the costs of our pensions are generated by our contributions and investment refunds. By the way, you chose to work for a company that doesn’t have pension benefits. THAT IS YOUR CHOICE!!! I chose to work for the state becuase of the benefits. It sure isn’t for the pay!!!! If it wasn’t for the Wall Street moguels greed which led to the stock collapse and the politicians robbing from Peter (our pension system) to pay Paul, our pension system would still be stable. IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE FACTS, DON’T RUN YOUR MOUTH!!!!

    I really don’t understand the citizens of Maryland. The state says they have to do this because of the budget, but they are debating a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates which will cost the state how much???? The state employee has endured furloughs, service reduction days, no pay raises, and staff reductions. We just ask that the state doesn’t take anything more from us right now. To find budget cuts elsewhere.

    • Cheryl

      I completely agree with you. There seemed to be far more coverage of the opposition than the state workers. Also, the people they interviewed kept referring to themselves as taxpayers. Do they think that state workers and teachers are exempt from taxes?

      • overtaxed

        They pay taxes out of a total salary that is taxpayer funded, so what they keep is more than they pay, in other words if there was no private sector the public sector employees would not pay enough taxes to support themselves. The system would collapse. Government does not understand or make profit profit.

        Private sector taxpayers’ salaries are based on money earned through a business. The business is taxed, the owner is taxed, the employees are taxed, the business owner must match the withholdings of each employee. That is where the money for the public sector is generated.

    • whatnow

      I did not chose to work for a company that didn’t have pension. When I started in this field 30 years ago, they had pensions. THE CANCELLED THEM. You see, the private sector just has to grin and bear it, and it galls us when the public sector whines about getting the same treatment we have gotten for years. By your own estimate, the government (me) pays 20% of your pension costs. My private sector 401K is only 5% paid. But I bet you voted for O’Malley because all unions are democrats. The surplus and the promise mid-level state jobs wouldn’t be touched came from Erhlich. Its also the Dems that deregulated BGE. People need to get real.

      • Dena

        Get real huh? When was the last time you risked your life for someone else, walked into a situation where someone wants to kill you or worked in a classroom where some crazy misbehaved spoiled brat gets a bad grade and decides to shoot the teacher? If you really want your money back from my goverment paycheck let me know where I can mail the penny to because that’s about all that’s left with the furloughs and cuts!

  • OtherSide

    Think teachers get paid too much?

    Watch this:

    • A Believer

      Father forgive them. For they know not what they do. Thanks for the link.

  • Ross Perot

    Bet you can hear that giant sucking sound I was telling you about in 1992 now. Keep voting in the a@@holes you stupid American people.

  • Patricia Smith

    no way do teachers get paid too much..I would never do their job for the money they make..

    • whatnow

      I wouldn’t mind having Christmas week, and a spring week and 10 weeks in the summer off. If you average it out, there salaries aren’t that bad. Since the NFL players and owners can’t decide how to split the $9 billion, maybe they could donate it to states.

      • Alie

        Yes, teachers do get time off ( as most employed people do) but during those breaks, teachers take college courses/workshops that are required if you want to remain a teacher. They also plan for their students and grade papers on their time off. And with that “not so bad” salary, they are paying for those college courses and materials for thier classrooms.

  • bob

    Where were all you people on election day when O’malley was elected? If you couldn’t see through his lies during the campaign then shame on you. All of state workers that voted for him, even after geeting furloughed, should not be complaining no. You had a chance to get rid of him. Bob Erhlich said he would but the state’s financial on the back of the state workers. Instead he would create revenue through attraction of private businesses. But people only listened to the campaign slander lies from the O’Malley camp.

    • whatnow

      I was with you Bob, voting for Erhlich. Everyone complains this state is in the dumper but the keep electing the same idiots over and over. If you can’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it!

  • bob

    Correction: Bob Erhlich said he would NOT place the state’s financial woes on the back of state workers.

  • Your Kidding Right?

    People can we PLEASE stop hiding behind the tax issue? I pay plenty of taxes on things I get no benefit of. Education for instance. I decided long ago not to have children but does that mean I can stop paying out in taxes each year for everyone elses “little tax exemptions” because I get no benefit of it? No it does not. So quit whinning and suck it up like the rest of us have to. You chose your job. Nobody was stopping you from getting a job with a pension if you wanted one. Do you have any idea how you all look whinning like this because someone else chose a job with a pension while you had the same choice and chose not to take a job that had a retirement plan?

    • overtaxed

      Taxes are exactly the issue, it takes 3 private sector taxpayers to support 1 public sector employee. A job with a pension only exists in publlic sector. The demands of the public sector fall on the backs of the private sector.

      We all can’t be public employees.

  • Debbie

    Well gosh we can’t afford to pay for legal citizens when we have all these ILLEGALS we need to accomodate. O’Malley says we all have to give so that those who broke the law to be here can benefit. Keep rallying and let these idiots know we are not happy with their representation. Start representing the citizens here legally and not the law breakers

  • DEMO65

    Didn’t yall see what he didn’t do as Mayor. Then again as Governor. Well here we go again. His next step is D.C. OMG!, I yi yi!
    How can you keep promoting a guy like this. He misleads, no he tell lies.
    And for all of you dumb J@#%k @ $$es, now you know what do you look liked when you made statements like ” ah well O’malley is the lesser of the two evils I’ll take O’malley”. Guess what, YOU GOT HIM!

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