A Baltimore City-versus-Montgomery County fight which was holding up enactment of a $157 million transportation and education aid package was resolved today when Gov. Harry Hughes agreed to continue the state's current contributions to teacher's pensions.
The deal, however, left most of Prince George's County's Senate delegation feeling left out and furious, since they felt the Montgomery delegation -- their natural allies -- had lost interest in the battle for increased Metro aid after winning a separate fight against a cut in social security contributions.
Sen. Arthur A. Dorman, who chairs the Prince George's delegation, was particularly incensed that he had not been consulted before House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Baltimore) and Sen. Laurence Levitan (D-Montgomery) had meetings with Hughes this morning and agreed to the social security compromise.
"Why Larry Levitan and Ben Cardin can make a deal by themselves when there are 188 elected legislators here I don't understand," Dorman said this afternoon.
"Now Larry's got what he wanted on social security and he wants us to do his bidding and handle the fight on the other thing [the state's contribution to the interest on Metro bonds]," Dorman added.
Under the agreement reached this morning, the state will continue to pick up 100 percent of local contributions to teachers' social security pensions until next January, when the federally mandated contribution level increases from 6.13 to 6.65 percent of salary levels.
From January on, any contributions above the 6.13 percent level will be pick up 100 percent of local contributions. Under the agreement, the state will save $2.1 million which will be redistributed to local governments under a formula which gives the greatest benefits to jurisdictions which spend the greatest proportion of their own money on education.
For Montgomery, the key element in the deal was the elimination of a proposal to redistribute some of the social security aid to localities on the basis of need, which would have cost Maryland's two richest subdivisions, Montgomery and Baltimore counties, between $300,000 and $500,000 next year.
The social security dispute, which pitted Baltimore City against the two rich subdivisions, also found the Montgomery County senators at odds with Del. Lucille Maurer, the education expert from Wheaton, who was threatening to hold up not only the key education and transportation aid measures but also a bill providing $22 million in state funds for Memorial Stadium.
Over the weekend, when late night negotiations on the social security issue broke down, Levitan had stormed out of a meeting threatening to kill the stadium bond bill unless he got his way.
In the wake of this morning's agreements, the Memorial Stadium bond bill was approved by the Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee -- which is chaired by Levitan -- on an 8-4 vote.
However, committee members amended the measure so that none of the money for the renovation and expansion of the seating areas of the stadium will be available before July 1, 1981.
The Memorial Stadium bill, however, must still win the approval of the full Senate, and it appeared today that it could be a handy target for the angry members of the Prince George's County Senate delegation.