Hogan’s honeymoon with legislature is over, Senate GOP leader says, but House speaker disagrees

“The honeymoon is over” at the State House, Senate Republican Leader J.B. Jennings told an audience of county officials Friday. “This session is not going to be the lovefest we had last year.” House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat, disagreed with Jennings assessment that there won’t be another love fest. “I don’t know why not,” Busch said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to work together with the governor to come up with the best solutions for the people of Maryland.”

Budget realities challenge Hogan promises on spending, taxes

The uphill climb Gov.-elect Larry Hogan faces to fulfill his campaign promises and reduce state spending and taxes was starkly illustrated in a legislative hearing on spending Wednesday.

Facing dozens of lawmakers, including some who lost election bids, the Maryland General Assembly’s top fiscal expert produced a graph showing the next six years of projected state spending and revenues. In every year, including this one, the line for spending goes up and up, and the line for revenues rises too, but never matches expenses.

Senate rejects GOP cuts to $39 billion budget; Miller gripes about environmental ‘whackos’

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.

Treasurer, comptroller urge senators to restore $100M cut in pension funding

In unusual joint testimony, Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot, chair and vice-chair of the state pension board, pleaded with Senate budgeters not to permanently cut $100 million in state payments to the retirement system. They said the cut proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley had high long-term repercussions and undermined the state’s credibility with bond rating agencies by reneging on promises made in 2011 pension reforms.