GOP candidates gather in Towson to sign pension pledge
Republican federal, state and local candidates and elected officials will be out in front of the Old Courthouse in Towson late Monday afternoon to sign a pledge that shows their support for pension reform for elected officials.
Steve Bailey, a Republican candidate for state’s attorney, said candidates will gather in Towon at 5 p.m. to sign the pledge and vow to work toward changing so-called defined benefit plans to a defined contribution plan similar to 401K style plans available to the public.
“We’re going to work toward these goals or at least the people who get elected,” said Bailey, who took up the issue of pension reform when he was co-chairman of the county chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a group that advocates smaller government.
Bailey said further pension reform on the county level “should be a reality if a majority of Republicans are elected to the council.”
Bailey said that the reforms on the county level would mean that current incumbents would not see a change in any accrued benefits under the current defined benefits plan – council members receive 20 percent of their highest salary for each term they complete. Future benefits would only be accrued if the council member elected to participate in the 401K-style plan.
“We don’t believe it would be fair or legal to make the changes retroactive,” Bailey said. “I don’t think you can do anything other than (make it prospective).”
Earlier this year the council passed a measure that limits council members to retirement benefits equal to 60 percent of their highest salary. The changes applied only to council members who begin their service on Dec. 6.
Expected speakers include Sen. Andy Harris, a candidate for Congress, and Del. Bill Frank. Both men sponsored legislation to create defined contribution plans for state legislators. Those bills were unsuccessful.