Talk about an uneven fight! When it comes to shaping the Maryland state budget Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. is the pre-determined champion.
Think of the budget as a balloon. The governor decides how much air gets pumped into the balloon ($40 billion). Once this is done, the legislature can let out some of that air -- but it can't expand the size of the balloon at all.
Though he’s listed as chief sponsor of a bill that would cut Maryland’s estate tax, Senate President Mike Miller said Wednesday he only “reluctantly” supports his legislation, and its House equivalent, which delegates passed last week.
But, Miller said, it is important to keep Maryland’s rate competitive to those of other states.
With minimal debate, the Maryland Senate rejected a half dozen Republican attempts to further trim Gov. Martin O'Malley's $39 billion budget Wednesday, and gave preliminary approval to the spending plan that will be sent to the House this week.
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee ultimately cut $492 million from the current budget and O'Malley's proposal for next year, partly to make up for lowered revenue estimates in both years.
Much or all of an annual $300 million extra payment into Maryland's pension system is on the chopping block as Senate budgeters seek to balance Gov. Martin O'Malley's $39 billion budget at a voting session Friday.
The General Assembly's Spending Affordability Committee recommended Wednesday that next year's state budget be allowed to grow by 4% and Maryland's debt limit be allowed to increase $75 million to $1.16 billion next year.
Senate President Mike Miller is making changes to chamber rules that he hopes will result in a busier workload during the early weeks of the legislature’s 90-day annual session. “We're battling against human nature, which for most people means putting off issues that could be dealt with today.”
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted Thursday to cut $100 million in contributions to the State Retirement and Pension System for fiscal 2014. The committee tied the unexpected move to passage of legislation that will eventually ensure the state puts aside enough money for employee and teachers pensions. But the cut also adds a year to achieving long-term funding goals for those pensions.
The debate over transportation funding in the Maryland General Assembly moved to the Senate Budget Committee Tuesday, with some senators arguing for more transit spending and others claiming that the state devotes too many resources to its transit system already. For the second time in five days, the Maryland transportation secretary was confronted with tough questions from lawmakers, who asked him why drivers should pay for the cost of running the transit system.