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March 14, 2011

Thousands of union members storm Annapolis

As Maryland lawmakers prepare to make decisions in the coming weeks on budget cuts and pension reform, thousands of union members on Monday marched on Annapolis to send a message.

The marchers were met by a counter-protest, organized by tea party activists, of several dozen taxpayers asking for deeper state budget cuts.

The union group was large enough to cut off traffic on downtown Annapolis streets, Chanting, "keep the promise" and "enough is enough," they decried efforts by Gov. Martin O'Malley and legislators to change employee contributions to their retirement plans, a move that would save the state an estimated $100 million next year.

The many teachers in the audience also spoke out against the governor's planned level-funding of K-12 schools. If the proposal is adopted by state lawmakers, Baltimore would receive $15 million less and Prince George’s County $16 million less than they were slated to receive next year under the state’s education funding formula.

One after another, state workers took the stage to tell their stories to an audience that organizers said reached about 15,000.

Each was meant to illustrate a complaint.

Jeanette Taylor, a parole and probation worker said she had "answered the call" and taken a pay cut a few years ago to become a state employee. In her mid-50s, she said some of the pension plans under consideration would force her to work until age 78.

She rallied the crowd: "Leave the pensions alone."

Retired prison maintenance employee Ernie Prince talked about health problems he and his wife have endured (diabetes, two brain surgeries, breast cancer). He said he now pays $124 in prescriptions each month, and under reforms being considered by the state, he would pay $409 per month -- leaving little money, he said, for food and other expenses.

"I just don't have it," he said. "I kept my promise to the state of Maryland. Brothers and sisters -- enough is enough!"

At the conclusion of the rally, O'Malley, a Democrat who drew broad union support in his election campaigns, made an unexpected appearance. He told workers that he, too, is unhappy with the budget.

Last month, O’Malley and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest group of state workers, reached a deal on a three-year contract that allows for raises if state revenue increases. The deal also contains a $750 bonus this year, and for the first time in three years guarantees that workers will not be furloughed.

Union leaders acknowledged Monday that Maryland doesn’t face the collective bargaining struggles they’re seeing in other states. Still, the rally was meant to "send a message that we’re all standing together," Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said in an interview.

Union members want to tell elected officials that budget woes "shouldn’t fall only on the backs of workers," he said.

State workers were met by a counter-protest, organized by tea party activists, of citizens who believe the state should do more to reduce spending. They floated pink pig balloons and wore snouts as a way to call out budget fat.

Many hoisted signs supportive of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently ended largely collective bargaining for employees in that state.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 7:34 PM | | Comments (67)
Categories: 2011 legislative session



The wealthy (when you get a multimillion dollar retirement guaranteed for life you are wealthy) government employees are DISGUSTING. Try my retirement - what I save I get to take out. And many of the government jobs are a WASTE of my taxes to start with. Maryland is going to go over the bankruptcy cliff and government unions could care less. It's just the middle class tax payers who will get screwed in the end while the wealthy government employees laugh. Sick.

Thugs, each and every one of them. Don't give me that nonsense about it being for the kids either. Only a moron would believe these people care about anybody but themselves. Unfortunately, O'Malley isn't half the man Gov Walker of Wiscosin is and about now somebody is pulling him out from under a desk.

Keep the promise. I rode a bus from Hagerstown with Correctional Officers and nurses who have taken 3 years of pay cuts. They have given over and over for this state doing thankless jobs. These are the best of America, and the best of Maryland. They were promised a retirement when they were hired, knowing their pay would be less, and the stress of their job would reduce their life expectancy. KEEP THE PROMiSE.

@ derfinger and chris,

You are two misinformed, angry, and misguided folks. Government workers, as you call us, ARE NOT RICH! We are barely middle class, like I assume you are. We pay our taxes and struggle to get by. We have every right to peacefully protest and make our voices heard. Apparently, you buy into the Fox news (if by news you mean fabricated information paid for by Rupert Murdoch) designed to pit the middle class against each other (right and left) while the truly wealthy continue to get richer off tax breaks and other nefarious schemes. I feel sorry for this nation because of people like you who think you are being intelligent when you slurp up the foolishness and hatred spewed by Fox. Read some independent sources. Don't be a Rush L. dittohead! Read and think for yourselves!

you left out the approximate amount of tea party activist which was about 50 I believe I counted and they left about 7:15 when they figured out that nobody was paying them no mind.

To you other knuckle heads, No state worker I know has a million dollar retirement , they receive approximately 56% or so of their salary in retirement. Why is it their fault the state did not fund their pension plans like they should have , but instead used the money to balance the state budget which is mandated by the Federal Govt. If states are so worried about tackling these budget deficits then why don't they start by cutting their salaries, health and pension benefits. Are they not Govt. workers too?

Hey, if you don't like it- QUIT!! Tired of you losers complaining- well we in the private sector have seen entire industries eliminated and our incomes truly slashed- the party is over- deal with it.

Here's an idea:

How about Maryland just raise property taxes on everyone not in a public union? That way the PEU's can maintain their generous health and pension benefits and not suffer additional layoffs.

This is Maryland, after all. Clearly there's no chance O'Malley will follow through on this.

As a taxpayer the only promises I see kept are more and more taxes as MOM attempts to ass kiss his way into his next job.

Keep your promise!
The General Assembly is considering balancing the budget on the backs of educators and other middle class state workers. What happened to the Wall Street crooks? We already contribute 5% of our salary to the pension system. Tax all Marylanders or cut waste, but do not just tax state workers. The budget breaks the promise of a secure retirement for educators, and substantially weakens one of the most important tools we have to recruit and retain educators in our state

I am a state employee and a member of the hard working middle class. I do not earn a six figure salary and my GREAT retirement plan will put me below the poverty level if I retire after 30 yrs of service. I try to put money away every pay period but I haven't had a salary increase since 2008 and I still have a family to support. I don't live in a big fancy house or drive a new car. I work hard every single day and make sure that the taxpayer funds we spend are used appropriately and responsibly. Don't call me a thug. I work hard for every penny I earn and I make it count.

@ Mary, were you out there disrupting traffic? If so, like the rest of them, you're a thug. If not, why not denounce the thug like tactics of your cohorts? I suspect it's because like them, you believe the result justifies the deed. Blocking traffic so you can be heard is hardly professional, unless your profession is Thuggery.

To Maryland Teacher, the vast majority of private sector employees DON"T have a pension and you're moaning about contributing 5% to yours. HELLO!! You really should get out once in awhile and talk to people other than children and teachers.

To concerned teacher, you don't have every right to block traffic. You should have been locked up. If you can't distinguish the difference between peacefully protesting and disrupting traffic then perhaps it's the parents of the children under your care that should be concerned.

Before you start hailing wis gov walker as a hero, pay attention to the news in wisconsin. He's going to be recalled asap, signatures for recall can be gotten started nov 3. You have no idea what you're saying if you don't pay attention to OUR local news.

Public sector employees agreed to below market salaries in exchange for decent health benefits and a pension. That was the trade off. Those of you who chose to work in industries that laid you off, that was your bad call.

@ valerie fingal, you're delusional if you believe Walker will be recalled. First, the earliest it could begin is January 2012. That is long enough for the benefits of his new budget to begin taking place. Second, over 540,000 verified signatures would have to be collected. That's not happening. Wisconsin isn't Maryland.

Get a Life! I wasn't out there protesting and I don't condone thuggery or disrupting ot hers to get your point across but you sir have a real problem. We live in a country where we promote freedom of speech. I'm sure if the cause were something near to your heart, if you have one, you wouldn't mind the protestors. For your information I was working tonight, without overtime pay or anyone there to see it. We have left two positions open in my unit which increases my workload but not my pay. Take an aspirin and chill.

@ catinthehat, I hope your're not implying MD Public School Teachers are underpaid. In Maryland, the primary and secondary educators, teacher earnings are the fourth highest in the country (according to the National Education Association) and almost $10,000 higher than the average salary for teachers nationwide. That would put them substantially higher than the average private school teacher. IMO, they deserve somewhat higher pay than private school teachers, however, demonstrating in the streets, blocking traffic, defacing public property and making taxpayers foot the bill for cleanup is inexcusable. Using children as pawns in their power grab also is a despicable tactic used by the Teacher Unions. THAT has been going on for decades. I recall in the early 70's being subjected to rantings by my 8th grade Math teacher at MRJHS when he was an officer or something at TABCO. I suspect the kids are subjected to worse nowadays. Pity.

Keep the promise!

If we blocked traffic, it was because there were so many of us that believe in this! In Maryland, we have made sacrifices. I have not had cost of living raise in 2 years. We are facing higher class sizes already and more to come. School days have been cut. We pay into our pension, which is not as high as pensions in many other states. I do not make a high, six figure salary, but hey, I did not choose this career to earn a fat paycheck. I am not sure what people think teachers should make, but It looks to us like some people out there want teachers to be earn salaries that are not appropriate for those required to attain masters degrees in order to keep certification. This is not whining. These are the facts. Let us do our jobs, and stop attacking teachers!

Here is another fact: Maryland schools are number one in the nation according to test scores and graduation rates.

Parroting Fox news and calling us greedy, lazy, or unwilling to make sacrifices is not supported by data, so tell us another one.

Don, what does THIS

"I recall in the early 70's being subjected to rantings by my 8th grade Math teacher at MRJHS when he was an officer or something at TABCO. I suspect the kids are subjected to worse nowadays. Pity."

have to do with us? I'm sorry that happened to you 40 years ago.

And wrong again. No, I did not tell my 5th graders what was going on today. They just know sometimes they have no school because we are furloughed.

Don, do you understand that Maryland is one of the highest cost of living states in the nation? Do you think that the teachers who work here should only be able to afford crummy apartments?

I'm sorry you are so angry. . .

Is is pure tea party propaganda that teachers are overpaid. That anyone actually believes that is a stunning testament to the power of ignorance combined with economic stress. BTW, way to say thanks to the teachers who have given you the best public schools in the nation three years running. And enough with the "power grab" and "thug" junk. Teachers have been giving more for less since the inception of American public education because they love what they do and care about the kids in their care. This assault on public educators is disingenuous and shameful.

Don is quite clearly a fascist who has apparently forgotten about freedom of assembly. Seeing as the rally was already prepared and the police (state employees by the way, who protected everyone, including the tea party "patriots" who waved inflated pig balloons in their faces) had closed streets in advance, as is customary for any large rally in a state Capitol.

What Don doesnt like is democracy. He is a coward, most likely using a fake name, to be a messageboard warrior.

I was at the rally don, with thousands of people. You were probably on your couch, yelling at glen beck while he yells at you.

So we are using facts, the demonstration was scheduled and had the cooperation of law enforcement and city officials. Police blocked traffic for the safety of the participants and organizers worked closely to ensure all were safe.
As the picture clearly shows there were maybe 50 counterdemonstrators vs 15,ooo+ so let's acknowledge some balance in the coverage. Public employees are TAXPAYERS and should not be the sole source of balancing the budget.

So tired of hearing teachers complain about their pay - it's not like you didn't know the pay scale when you decided to teach.

you made a choice, quit complaining.

if you wnat to make more money, go into another field - same with all public employees.

the majority wouldn't last a year in the private sector because they're expected to produce, not sit on their large butts and collect a paycheck

Boy, these people don't realize that being a state employee, is not so great. No raises or cost of living in over 3 years, and we 5% towards our retirement, and the state really doesn't match that like the private sector. Health benefits are not the greatest either, and the increased costs and furloughs have put me in the poor house where I almost my house last year like every other citizen.
On the private sector people, if I left the state I would double my salary unlike most people, but I won't leave since I work for the University of Md, and is the only way I can pay for college for my children.

To Don, Anonymous, mike a, Crybaby, and others - Ignorance, buffoonery and factless vitriol may be acceptable in outlets such as Fox "News" and certain right-wing talk radio shows, but don't trot it out in forums where people are trying to have an intelligent discussion about the very real budget problems facing our state. If you think that public sector employees and their families should bear the weight of the budget cuts while other groups of taxpayers don't make equal sacrifices, make a factual, rational argument in support of that. Blanketly insulting the field of teaching or promoting false assumptions about all public sector employees is pointless and foolish. All you're really doing is making the case for increased education spending. Your clear inablility to put forth a sensible, reasonable argument (supported by facts) against something you disagree with is most likely a symptom of a lack of education. Your comments are an embarrassment to our state and to our nation.

As was already discussed above. Those who go into public service do indeed know the pay scale. But that pay scale has been cut and amended multiple times. In addition they knowingly take lower pay in exchange for job security, retirement and health benefits. And now, through the actions of wall street and the inappropriate actions of state and local governments they are being demonized in order to make it easier to cheat them out of their legally negotiated benefits.
The question people should be asking is not why do public workers have health care and retirement plans. The question should be, in a time of record profits for many corporations, and an amazing increase in the accumulated wealth of the top 1-5%, why doesn't that translate into increased wealth and benefits for the rest of us?

Yes, let me tell you, when you are making $50,000 a year and get a pension of maybe 50% of your salary after 30 years of service doing your damndest to educate theyoung people of our nation, you are really one of the big, bad guys who are driving us to ruin!

Don't worry about the people that are calling us thugs or wealthy, or those that identify themselves as Tea Party activists. There are peope that are being paid to enter disparaging comments like the ones found here into blogs. Wealthy conservatives with their own agenda are behind this. Take it all with a grain of salt. They aren't real Marylanders.

As usual us State employees are the scapecoats for a bad economy (read another Bush screw job). We are never attacked during the good times because everyone knows we are underpaid compared to private industry. When the economy is torpedoed (like Bush did) the ignorant take their opportunity to go after us, when really private industry should be hiring (oh, that's right they're greedy bastards that don't care about people).

Teachers, teachers. Please just quit already. So the real human beings that really need a job and care for the students can take your place. Enough is enough. Your starting to make Egypt and Libya look like a playground. Most of them waited patiently for 40 years till they took a stand.

Seriously, your students prolly seem like this stuff doesn't phase them right now, they prolly feel like they are on vacation.

What is the lesson you are teaching youth today. How are they supposed to take care of you when you get older if they don't know how to read?

And as O'malley, well, we are ALL about to get robbed once again, by him. You should be protesting and boycotting him

Regards and thanks for your service

The people of the State of Maryland will get the government they pay for. Dissatisfied with the quality of state service now? Wait until the best and brightest leave the state service in droves. Already the AGs office has had to replace its most senior, most important attorneys with clueless recent law school grads because skilled lawyers were tired of years and years of pay cuts. The same is true with engineers in the DOT and doctors in the hospital system.

The notion that state employees don't "pay" for their pensions is laughable. When they take a 25% pay cut to work for the state, they do so in return for the one decent benefit that the state offers -- a defined-benefit pension plan. When the State takes that away -- to match the private sector -- will the State then raise salaries to match the private sector? HAH!

Rather than whining about the fact that middle-class people earn a middle-class pension, why not take to the streets over the fact that Congress and Wall Street have acted together to destroy pensions for everyone else? If you don't have a defined-benefit pension, you are forced to live under a system wherein you mail a big chunk of your paycheck to some insanely overpaid bankers to gamble with -- and when they p-ss away all of your money, they get bailed out by the government.

Oh, and the Tea Partiers have apoplexy over the idea that the bankers who destroyed the economy and received giant federal bailouts should work under some sort of salary cap until they repay the bailout. "Why," the bankers sputter, "we need to pay multimillion dollar bonuses to the idiots who threw away all of your money; otherwise we won't be able to retain our vital employees!" And the Right is filled with empathy for the put-upon bankers and decries bonus limits as being "socialism."

And in the real world, the states cut the pay of their vital workers, and are cheered on by the Right when they do so. Truly vital workers -- not investment bankers who threw away billions, but doctors and lawyers and engineers and other skilled professionals necessary to run the State. These we kick to the curb as thanks for their service.

Keep telling them to quit. Believe me, they will, and are. Let's see where that gets you in a few years when either the State has to hire them back at twice the rate as "contractors," or has to deliver services with a small band of the truly unemployable, the laughably unqualified, and the woefully inexperienced .

At last night's rally I saw teachers exhibiting greed and bloated egos demanding more when everybody in this country is doing with less. I saw the union members who were there because their bosses said they had to be, but were on payroll to go , provided with free transportation and meals. I talked to nasty people who were disgusted by the fact there were people protesting against the unions and those making demands for payment of pensions with non-existent funds.
The teachers urged on by their unions have shown they have been corrupted by the union system to believe they are entitled to more because they deserve more. Those individuals who should know that they are a serious burden on the tax payers- people who have less than them and no benefits- will have to have taxes increased to cover the benefits promised by the unions, in whom they have put their trust.These people who should know better refuse to understand that the middle class taxpayers are fed up with supporting those who have so much more than they do. The private sector workers are also sick and tired of their tax dollars ending up supporting politicians they do not support, getting millions of tax dollars to put them in office, where the whole corrupt cycle continues to be perpetrated..This is wrong! It is unfair and must be stopped. Our country is broke and can no longer look the other way when there is a system in place that is being exploited and has been drained by the excesses of those in charge, along with their very willing members who greedily accept their promises of more whose funding will be placed on the backs of the other working Americans who have to do without.

Government/public sector unions are a racket and arguably a criminal enterprise. Taxpayers – Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal – collectively pay the salaries of government workers. Part of those salaries are then siphoned off – by government – as dues to the unions. The unions then take those dues and use them to buy Democrat politicians to give them anything they want – generating more salaries and dues. It’s the perfect racket – a self licking ice cream cone…an endless supply of money supplied largely by your opponents, against their will and without their say.

Pretty brilliant strategy if you care nothing for rules or civil governance. Government unions need to be taken down with a wrecking ball., if we could only get the Dems in the GA to run out of state and cower like their brethren in Wisconsin............;->

Think teachers get paid too much?

Check this out:

@catinthehat, that "propaganda" that I cited pertaining to MD Public School Teacher salaries came from none other than the NEA!! Now, don't you feel foolish? I know I would.

How are union dues being leading to political contributions any different than businesses taking contracts with the government and then donating money to politicians.

Why is it only ok if corporations are doing it.

I am a retired MD State Employee after 15 years of service and get approximately $350 a month in retirement. We were duked out of the original State retirement Plan way back in the early 80's and offered one where we didn't pay - worst possible scenairio - just because they didn't want to spend money on us. It was also the era when the State use to work 35 hours/week and the Governor changed it to read 40 hours without any compensation.
But at least I get something now - better than none.

Corporations are now paying the lowest levels of taxes (if any at all)in the post-World War II, the wealthiest 1 percent of families own roughly 1/3 of the nation's net worth, but its those unionized teachers that are making way too much money! Somewhere in hell, Stalin is applauding.

@JackS, can you prove that accusation in any way, shape or form? Of course not, just another tactic used to smear the opposing viewpoint. You're a tool, but you've got lots of company. Darn shame they're teaching our kids.

The gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us has never been higher. According to Forbes magazine the richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 50% of U.S. households..

Unions are the only way working people have to fight back. We need an energized union movement democratically controlled by its rank and file members to push back the attacks being leveled across the country by both political parties.

No cutbacks. Tax the rich. Form a Labor Party to fight for the big working class majjority.

Anonymous said: "I saw the union members who were there because their bosses said they had to be, but were on payroll to go , provided with free transportation and meals. I talked to nasty people who were disgusted by the fact there were people protesting against the unions and those making demands for payment of pensions with non-existent funds."

You could not have seen that because that is false.

We came to the rally as volunteers. No employer paid us to come. The bus drivers volunteered their time to bring us to the rally and had to clock out before driving us. The meals were provided by our local county union. They worked out something with Chick-Fil-A, I would guess part of this came from the union dues that I paid - voluntarily.

Tea party: how will you retire? Did you get a 401k from your private sector job? We got a smaller one (totally paid by ourselves, and not matched), because we already paid into a pension, and because that pension retirement will not be enough to maintain our standard of living. That's how we retire. Why do you want to take food out of the mouths of our older selves? I suppose if there never was a pension in the first place, I would have used those thousands of dollars I paid to get more 403b portfolios and hope they do well. But we were promised a pension, so we already responsibly made our plans.

Finding it funny that there are no public listings for Don Derflinger in MD. Have to wonder if that's because you aren't a resident here and really don't have to deal with living here...
I will be the first to say I don't post my real name for the safety of my family and also my job security in my chosen career as a state employee.
Not sure how you criminalize teachers and other state employees as thugs because they protest to keep their benefits. Maybe you should take some time on efforts against the Westboro Church who protest against people who fight for our country. But maybe you are one of those church members because whether teachers are instructing our youth, police are protecting our streets or correctional officers are trying to not get killed by the criminals we don't want out on our streets, we are all fighting for our freedom - to live in a safe place where we can raise our families, the American Dream. For many of us, that may mean something different. But, I certainly know my place is no where near the upper middle class. Reduced salaries, furloughs, and budget cuts ultimately means foreclosure and bankruptcy for our family.
And I could say - hell, I'll just go use my degrees in the private sector and make more money, but I don't think it's fair I do that to my victims. I work for them, my victims, residents of the State of Maryland and others that have suffered because of someone else's malice. So, I continue to persevere until I can retire - that is assuming something doesn't happen to me before that. Some of our state workers work in some of the toughest jobs in the state - we are lucky to survive and retire. It's not like there is a surplus of people ready to take our places for a lower salary and the possibility of serious injury because we teach in a violent school, guard in a place with violent offenders, or police in a violent State. No, when the trained people that actually care about what happens to your kids, your family, and you leave for better opportunities and higher pay, everybody better head out of town because this is going to be one ROUGH place to live with a bunch of uneducated, underpaid people who don't give a damn about you and only work to collect a paycheck.

The richest 5% of this country owns 95% of our nations wealth. The other 95% of us are fighting over the scraps that are left. If you think teacher unions are what is wrong with this country you are a puppet, and there is definitely something other than tea that you are drinking. I am soooooo sorry that me legally excercising my constitutional rights last night made you get home a half hour later. Get over yourself.

It takes about twenty five years before a teacher starts making what would be considered a fairly good wage. Of course, that also means that they met the Maryland State Requirement of getting a Master's Degree. For years I worked another almost full time job just to make ends meet and for those of you who suggest that we quit? Check it out. There are very few folks out there now who even want to go into the field of teaching and I imagine that there will be even less after this whole issue is resolved one way or the other.

You don't seem to have any trouble making up things that didn't happen. Were you there? Police were directing traffic and pedestrians alike. Public employees were not blocking traffic. There was no disruption and no trouble. Lookup the definition of a thug because you don't seem to know what it means. Nobody like that could even be hired in a public job. Do you know what the cost of living is in MD and did you take that into account when comparing pay with other states and jurisdictions? Public employees are tax payers. We are no better off than other middle class workers who are not public employees. Verizon offers it's employees a better benefit package than I have. Checkout their employment web page.
As for pay, where I work public employee compensation is compared against their private sector counterparts every 3 years. That is part of the checks and balances built in to the system. I have a brother and sisters who do not have public jobs so I do know how it is in the private sector including running a small business. They make more than I do.
The taxpayers demanded the services and offered the jobs which public employees applied for and accepted based on the promises that were made. Every member of my family but me works in the private sector and all but 1 who owns her own business, has a retirement plan which the employer contributes to.

Such total fiction you have invented. Were you paid to write that? We paid for our own buses, signs, water, etc. through the dues we pay and came on our own personal time voluntarily. Our Unions do not tell us what to do we tell them because we are the union. You apparently have absolutely no clue about unions in this day and age. The Tax payers created the jobs because the taxpayers want the services. We applied for the jobs they offered. Public employees are tax payers same as everybody else who make less money than their private sector counter parts. The country is broke? No. The rich own it. 400 of them own half the country. They own Fox news, they own wall street. They own the money from the taxpayer bailout and they own the huge bonuses. They own the Banks and the mortgages and they force the foreclosures on public and private sector employees alike. They pay huge campaign contributions and lobbyists as well as using other methods to buy influence. They might even be paying you to write fiction like that. They take from the poor and middle class both private sector and public employees alike and pad their pockets. They charge me $3.00 to print a small picture of a single check on my checking account statement when they used to return the full size cancelled check for free.

I see from the comments that the plan to pit us against each other is working perfectly.

Meanwhile the Fed Gov is spending a trillion each year for overseas military adventures. Paying Haliburton and other criminal organizations 100's of billions to chase at shadows.

It's too bad we can't ALL come together and protest against THAT!

Oh, and the Tea Partiers have apoplexy over the idea that the bankers who destroyed the economy and received giant federal bailouts should work under some sort of salary cap until they repay the bailout. "Why," the bankers sputter, "we need to pay multimillion dollar bonuses to the idiots who threw away all of your money; otherwise we won't be able to retain our vital employees!" And the Right is filled with empathy for the put-upon bankers and decries bonus limits as being "socialism."


Actually you can thank Dodd and Frank for the root cause of the credit meltdown. (If you don't know what I'm referring to, Google "Community Reinvestment Act")

BTW, the government made a profit on the bailouts to everyone but GM & Chrysler, who won’t pay back their bailouts ever. I'm against bailing any company, let them fail if they are mismanaged.

Telling someone how much money they can and cannot make IS socialism. How about I say that you can make only 2% above what your expenses are? How would that work for you? Since making a lot of money is so evil, if someone offered you $10M, I know you’d turn it down because it’s wrong to be rich. Right? If these “fat cats” have gotten their wealth via illegal means, they will get theirs in the end.

The people of the State of Maryland will get the government they pay for. Dissatisfied with the quality of state service now? Wait until the best and brightest leave the state service in droves.

Or maybe they are going to states with a better tax rate? Do you want to know why MOM failed to reinstate the MD Millionaires tax? Because it didn’t work. Those evil millionares found lower tax states to live in.


Personally, I want those millionares to stay in MD and make a lot of money so I'm not paying more in taxes. Because when they leave, guess who will have to have their taxes raised? Yup, the middle-class.

@Momof2Boys, go ahead, stalk away. No problem, nothing I post is untrue as far as the facts are concerned. The rest is my opinion, that at least until recently was perfectly ok to say out loud which I do upon many occasions. I'm not afraid to put my name out there as an opponent to public unions. Your thug-like tactics (yes, Virginia, stalking is something thugs do), don't frighten me. Why do you like so many other posters here hide behind fictitious names? Is there something you're ashamed of? I'd certainly be ashamed of whining about my benefits and pay when many Americans would gladly be in your shoes.

As far as living and "dealing" with MD. Had to laugh at that one. You haven't a clue how much I'm in MD or how much work I perform there and frankly it isn't any of your business. Rest assured I've got more than just a passing interest in what happens in Maryland and their tax rates, both personal and corporate.

So again, happy stalking!!

@ A different Don, perhaps you haven't heard of this new thing called the Internet. See, events and pictures can be broadcast over very large audiences practically instantaneously. One need not be in the room (or in the street) to know what is being spoken or the actions being taken. For instance, See how that works? AMAZING!

No public worker can be a thug, huh? REALLY? No bad cops huh? No crooked politicians? No pedophile teachers? Nice alternative reality you live in.

Maryland's high cost of living and taxes are why many people have left the state and if it were not for the Federal Govt, there would be a lot less people.

As i can see your reading comprehension is suspect. I didn't compare public teacher salaries, the NEA did. It's their own info I cited. Gee, please tell us you're not a teacher.

The rest of your post is pure drivel that actually doesn't warrant a response.

So let me get this straight. This same guy that was running around every network weekend TV show two weeks ago, trashing Governor's Walker & Cristie is now "inflicting" thie same pain in his own State??? Aren't you proud State workers, O'Malley voters? How does it feel to be "punked"? YOU re-elected this fraud. This fraud knew the party was over like every other Governor in the Nation. Was that explained pre- 2010 election? NO! But guess what? When the real "reform" comes, your BOY will be "movin on up"! You should feel so proud! Congrats on inflicting all of us with this "empty suite hack" for the next 3 1/2 years!


The fact that you cling to laughable and oft-disproven Glenn Beck/Tea Party fantasies about the CRA demonstrates that you are arguing from a factual vacuum. Turn off Fox "News" and go learn something.

I don't think we should blame the teachers. Essentially they're forced into paying union dues (which would probably be better put to use in a 401k or something) and then promised a pension from a ponzi scheme that either goes unfunded completely or just raided for other uses. That being said, people who lose money in ponzi schemes (rich or poor) lose money -- they don't get bailed out by tax payers who didn't collectively bargain for that scheme. If people right now are relying on social security and government pensions for their retirement, they should have the forsight to start putting some money away, or revising their union contracts such that they pay into a 401k instead of some sort of pension fund. ...or stop giving the union money and take care of themselves with investments for their future. Again, not the individual teachers fault, but mostly a long time of Maryland government money dismanagement to blame.

Pensions and benefits should be more in line with the private sector which means...they should be cut. As a taxpayer, I'm not going to fund a public employee to retire and go live on a golf course in Florida for the rest of his/her life. No one deserves to be paid until they are 6 feet under off the taxpayers back. It is ridiculous the benefits and pensions that public employees get. I work in the private sector with no pension, but I pay taxes to fund a pension for a public employee??? This has to end and end now. Like I said, public pensions and benefits need to come into reality just like the private sector.

I am a teacher and I refused to go to Annapolis to march. It's called "you reap what you sow". Our union (MSEA) voted in OCTOBER OF 2009 to endorse Martin O'Malley, before a single person had announced themselves as a challenger.

Being that the union is so reflexively Democratic, the Gov. knew he could do whatever he wanted and the teachers wouldn't/couldn't do a thing. Welcome to reality, folks.

Plus, times are tough, I'm just glad I still have a job.

In conclusion: Screw you MSEA, and Screw you O'Malley.

I have been a state employee for 17 years. the majority of that time i was contractual. year to year, making way below what i should have been. why? because private sector wouldnt hire me! I have a disability! but thru hardwork and determinination i am still below what my field use to make in the private sector. for example, I am an IT specialist II, making 64k before furloughs and budget cuts, now barely clearing 52k gross. 12 k pay cut, and paying for 401 and 457 plans, raises in pharmacy and medical already! compared to me in the private sector? before the IT bubble burst i had folks with less exp making 100k plus.. now they too are govt employees!! lol! when times are good, we are ignored, when times are bad we are blamed. did you know a rookie cop, paid to be in dangerous situations barely clears 38k? other dangerous government jobs.. low salary.. and you think we are priviledged.. if our pension is such the greatest thing, then why o why do we have to get 401 and 457 plans? plus insurance thru the credit union and such.. because contrary to popular belief, not all state employees are living high off the hog!! its those SPECIAL APPOINTMENT positions that make the big bucks.. dont lump us civil service folks in with the politians and their ilk..

It's a sad day in America when conservatives have tilted so far to the right that they will basically just come out and say that we (in the middle class) should all work until we die. For the record, I don't work for the state. But I really don't know what universe these people are living in who think teachers, correctional workers, etc, are overpaid. I think if you want to talk about renegotiating the contract for future hires, that's something we can have a discussion about as Marylanders. My feeling is that you get what you pay for. If we don't offer decent benefits to teachers and other state workers, I'm guessing that Maryland's schools won't be number one in the nation in a few years, but that's something we can discuss.
But it is completely disingenuous to argue that teachers are overpaid and should have prepared better to fund their own retirements. We are talking about people who were promised a pension, and were paid lower salaries accordingly. You can't claw that money away now. To do so would be dishonest, dishonorable, not to mention a total disaster for the state. Thousands of retired state workers living in poverty would be a serious drag on Maryland's economy. Maryland does have a budget problem. The nation has a budget problem. But they weren't caused by government workers, or any of the government programs that conservatives love to decry. Think about this: The top marginal tax rate under Eisenhower was %91. Under Nixon it was %70. Under the sainted Reagan it was %50. Today it is %35. It seems pretty clear who isn't paying their fair share. The wealthy were still wealthy when Eisenhower was president. There was still an incentive to work, and incentive to innovate, and a substantial financial reward for entrepreneurship. But we recognized then that a society (by definition) succeeds or fails together. The corporations that largely run this country have succeeded in making a lot of people forget that fact. Raise the top tax rate back to where it was under Reagan, tax capital gains at an appropriate level, and lift the cap on Social Security. I guarantee you our budget problems will be gone, we'll be able to repair our crumbling infrastructure, lower the burden on the middle class, the rich will still be rich, and we won't have to mess over public employees who have worked tirelessly for years in the service of their state or country.

Can you spell T-E-A-C-H-E-R S-H-O-R-T-A-G-E? Keep abusing teachers and no one will want to go into (or stay in) the profession. And some of the foxwatching teabaggers above demonstrate so much ignorance that they obviously NEED teachers.

Maybe they aren't ignorant. Maybe they get paid to lurk on sites and spread sick, ugly RushGlenn-style hatred. If that is the case, they all get a gold star from this teacher.

There is no teacher shortage. There is a teacher surplus. If there were a shortage, there would be no need for a union.Hire somee young freshly graduated replacements; the old retreads have got to go

I am a retired Maryland teacher. I worked in Anne Arundel County for 23 1/2 years and retired at 62. My pension is $24,000 per year. I have moved to North Carolina because I can't afford to live in MD.
I am so sick of teachers being blamed for every problem with society. I worked from 7:30am to 6:00pm or 7:00pm every day and got up at 4:30am to grade papers for an hour and a half before I left for school. Teachers in Anne Arundel Co are required to have a Masters Degree or equivalent by their 10th year of teaching or their salaries are frozen. It is pretty clear to me that many of the hateful, ignorant people commenting on this blog were not listening when their teachers tried to teach them something....

Kiss me Kate!
A 24k/yr retirement after only 23 1/2 of service? As for who needs being taught to, I suggest a little reality 101, or if you not as ill-numerate as most, econ 101.

Don-it would be obvious to me that you don't know much state service in the fact that you can kill your career by associating yourself with your job. Not to mention that my career threatens my personal safety on a daily basis. As far as stalking, if I really wanted to ID you I probably could but I don't see the point of wasting more than 2 mins of my time looking. If you think lots of Americans want to have their home in foreclosure and in bankruptcy, that's very interesting to me considering the media keeps reporting how bad it is and normal people are losing everything they have worked for. It's not like everyone who is a public employee is married to another public employee and we dont have friends and family in both sectors. I know it from all sides. My husband has been unemployed. We have made it through a major illness. I just don't see why the public employees are being blamed for the budget that we did not create or our unions which we pay. And for the record I am one of hundreds of state employees who did not vote for owe malley after he took money from us the first term. I'm sure there are plenty of state workers who would love to have you suit up in their uniforms or teach at a school where thier lives are in danger or for you to kiss your kids goodbye one day and be lucky enough to finally see them 2 days later as opposed to a normal set schedule where you sit down at a family dinner. Yes we chose our careers I am not complaining about it, but to say many Americans want all of the responsibility for lower pay is absurd.

Love the comments from all of our unionized brethren, who march under the hopelessly disproven slogan that, "we organize for the betterment of the students"... it's baloney & any rational thinking, tax paying, privately employed Marylander with the least bit of common sense knows this to be true.
The public school system is fatally flawed & in dire need of a complete overhaul, dare I say in the direction of more competition through privatization. The largest single obstacle is and always has been powerful teacher unions who consistently manage to 'extort' funds from their closed-shop members, primarily to elect their political partners in crime.
Finally, Wisconsin & Ohio have it right! We cannot afford these unions with their bureaucratic and ever expanding 'work rules', which are major contributors to the inefficiencies in the system, nor can we afford the unsustainable pension systems, bought & paid for via union-chosen elected officials.
As the parent of (2) teachers and the spouse of a public school librarian, we as a family recognize that it's time for a change... and finally, those changes are coming, albeit late to the bluest-of-blue states!

If I can prove to you that there are bad landlords and they are police officers, government workers, and social workers will you help and how?

Seems like the folks are realizing where their taxes are being spent. Just like a dying rat they are gasping for air as they are suffocated to ignorant to realize the end for their endless entitlements at the backs of the real working class is over..

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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