By Len Lazarick
The action on the budget and tax hikes was all over but the shouting by Republicans as the House of Delegates approved a final spending plan, shifting half of pension costs to the counties, and raising state income taxes on people making over $100,000 per year.
Twenty-two different Republican delegates rose during the three-hour debate to decry the budget action.
“When we left session [April 9], the budget was balanced,” said House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, echoing a common theme. “I say enough is enough.”
(Almost all Republicans voted against the budget that passed in April.)
But Democratic leaders said the pension shifts, fund swaps and tax increases were needed to protect the state’s investments in K-12 education, universities, health care and public safety.
The tax hikes amounted to $6.25 a week ($325 per year) for a married couple making $250,000, said House Majority Leader Kumar Barve. He said he and his wife would be paying an additional $4.88 per week and “I am willing to pay that price” to maintain state programs.
10 Democrats vote against budget, 18 against tax hikes
In the end, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act passed 86-51, with 10 Democrats joining 41 Republicans in opposing the plan that changes funding formulas and allocation of revenues. The 10 Democrats included those from more conservative swing districts and Montgomery County liberals who objected to the pension shift that would hurt their county.
The 10 Democrats were: Tiffany Alston, Prince George’s; Charles Barkley, Jim Gilchrist, Ariana Kelly, Ben Kramer, Heather Mizeur and Kirill Reznik, all of Montgomery County; Sonny Minnick and Mike Weir, Baltimore County; and Johnny Wood, St. Mary’s.
Only one Republican supported the budget measure, Del. Wendell Beitzel, Garrett, who serves on the Appropriations Committee.
The debate was far shorter and the vote even closer on the State and Local Revenue and Financing Act, which passed 77-60, just six more votes than needed for it for a constitutional majority.
UPDATED CORRECTION: Eighteen Democrats joined all 42 Republicans present to vote against $300 million in tax hikes. The 18 Democrats were: Tiffany Alston, Prince George’s; Charles Barkley, Jim Gilchrist, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Ariana Kelly, Ben Kramer,
Heather Mizeur, Kirill Reznik, all of Montgomery County; Pam Beidle and Ted Sophocleus, Anne Arundel; Eric Bromwell, Steve DeBoy, Sonny Minnick, Dan Morhaim, Johnny Olszewski, and Mike Weir, Baltimore County; John Bohanan and Johnny Wood, St. Mary’s; Mary-Dulany James, Harford; David Rudolph, Cecil; and Kevin Kelly, Allegany.
Complete roll call votes
UPDATE: The complete roll calls on the two bills in the Senate and House are now posted on the General Assembly website. The main page for the two bills has the amendments and the roll calls on those as well.