Democratic-led county council in
Maryland cuts workers’ benefits
BY GLOVA SCOTT
WASHINGTON—The Montgomery County Council in Maryland unanimously passed a budget May 19 that cuts $25 million from education and $33 million in health and retirement benefits for government and school employees. County Council president Valerie Ervin, speaking for the all-Democratic council, said, “It’s time for all of us to live within our means.”
There will also be a 1 percent increase in property taxes and several hundred thousand dollars in cuts to public libraries. Meanwhile, the police department budget is being raised by nearly $3 million.
Another proposal includes increasing health-care premiums for government workers from 20 percent to 25 percent unless they join HMO plans. The county council also proposed long-term cuts to pension plans by capping future cost-of-living increases.
If it passes a final vote, set for May 26, the budget will go into effect July 1. Public union officials, who had organized an earlier rally to protest budget cut proposals in Rockville, Maryland, are working as part of a county “task force” to hammer out details of cuts to workers’ health-care plans.