State government should stay out of private pension plans, according to Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan.
Hogan, in an interview, was critical of a task force convened by Gov. Martin J. O’Malley to look at the issue of retirement security for private sector employees. That task force, led by former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, began meeting this month and is expected to consider recommendations that could include mandating private companies to offer retirement plans to employees or the creation of a state pension plan for private sector workers.
“I can’t imagine anyone who would be worse at putting together a pension system than the state of Maryland and interfering with private pension plans is a bad idea,” Hogan said.
In the last two years the legislature has looked at bills that would create a mandated pension program for companies with as few as five employees. Earlier this year, O’Malley, with the backing of some labor unions, created a task force charged with making recommendations on the issue.
Hogan criticized the idea as coming at a time when O’Malley and lawmakers agreed to use hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked as extra payments in to the state employee’s pension system to balance state budgets.
“How can the government tell people in the private sector how they should handle their pensions when they can’t handle their own, when they robbed hundreds of millions from state employees?” Hogan said. “It’s like having a bank robber tell someone how to avoid crime.”