By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Major changes will be coming to 350,000 state workers and retirees. The state doesn’t have enough money to pay what it promised to its retirees.

Mike Schuh has more on the problem and the unpopular solution.

On average, state workers make between 8 and 11 percent less than those in the private industry. But the sales pitch always has been that they make it up on the backside with good, guaranteed retirement benefits.

But somewhere along the way the system has broken down.

It doesn’t add up. For every dollar Maryland owes in pensions, you’re supposed to have at least 80 cents in the bank.  But Maryland only has 65 cents. Though it’s only behind by 15 cents on every dollar, those pennies add up. Now  Maryland owes $35 billion more than it has.

In Ohio and Wisconsin, such troubles led to massive protests.

Here lawmakers are civil as they agree to rework a plan from the governor. Cuts to Maryland pension include 2 percent to one salary in additional pension contributions, more expensive health care, and a two-tier plan for new hires with more years needed to retire.

At the State Center during the lunch hour, surprisingly very few state workers wanted to talk.

Privately, they said they feared for their jobs and retribution from the state.

James Hermond, a Maryland state employee, says he still has 14 years to think about retirement.

Some people have said they took state jobs rather than private sector jobs because they knew the retirement benefits would be better.

“That’s a definite,” Hermond said. “My mother always used to say security, security, security. And that was the social margin.”

Maria Perez is just three years away from state retirement.

“People are thinking about [retirement benefits] everyday,” Perez said. “They’re concerned about the outcome–where they’re going to take from to put there.”

The legislature will vote on this plan Thursday and Friday. It’s expected to pass both houses.

If that legislation does pass, state workers will see the additional deductions taken out of their paychecks on July 1.

Comments (3)
  1. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

    At what piont are the dumb ass lawmakers in this state going to be held responsable for not handling the business of the state? Everyone expects these idiots to do the right thing and they continue to do nothing but spend more and more on things they don’t have the money for and then use the retirement money and the transportation money and anything else they can get their greety little hands on and then cry because they need to raise taxes. As far as I am concerned, no benefits or pay for them untill the people they are sent there to protect and serve are taken care of. The workers of this state have done nothing wrong but take a job and go to work only to have a bunch of idiots mis-manage their pension. No pay, No benefits, No perks, No NOTHING for any of them! In fact, they should be sued for damages, just like in the private sector.

  2. sheriffwillie says:

    State employee workers didn’t contribute to my retirement fund & I see no reason to do for them. Let them manage their own finances & outside of my property taxes to pay for teachers salaries & state workers, that is it. Starting right now with the baby boomers starting to retire, all the state’s pension funds are in deep trouble & the moneys are not there. You are not hiking my taxes to make it up because it can’t be made up. Let them pay there own retirement or start social security witholding.

  3. TaxAndDefaultLiberal says:

    they made it too expensive to live in this state with the tax burden. now no one is having children to prop up their ponzi scheme. shut this gov’t down and lower my taxes. i have no sympathy for this corrupt 1 party state gov’t.

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