Special Session Set to End Today

As reported by the Gazette, the special session is expected to end today with final passage of a $35. 5 billion budget plan for FY 2013.  From the article:

Maryland’s House is expected to give final approval Wednesday to a budget plan that would raise income tax rates for high-income Marylanders and undo the so-called “doomsday” cuts that were set to go into place after lawmakers failed to reach a spending plan compromise during the regular session.

The Senate passed the spending plan early Tuesday afternoon, and the House is scheduled to take a final vote Wednesday morning. House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis said Tuesday evening that he expects a majority of delegates to approve the plan.

The budget plan includes increases in income tax rates, a phasing out of personal exemptions, and a shift of teacher pension costs to county governments.

The compromise income tax plan would raise $195.6 million in state revenue in fiscal 2013 through income tax hikes and $51.7 million by phasing out personal exemptions. The tax changes would affect single Marylanders making an adjustable gross income of more than $100,000 per year and couples claiming more than $150,000.

About 13.7 percent of Marylanders will pay more under the plan, according to a Department of Legislative Services analysis. The average increase in the state and local tax bills for those affected would be $579.

County governments across the state would see an additional $31.4 million in revenue as a result of the income tax adjustments in fiscal 2013, according to a fiscal analysis.

That revenue will help to offset a provision to shift 50 percent of the “normal cost” of teacher pensions, or $136.6 million, to counties beginning in fiscal 2013. The normal cost of pensions is the amount needed to pay pension liabilities if the system hadn’t been underfunded in the past.

The shift is front-loaded and will increase to 100 percent of the total normal costs in fiscal 2016. The same shift provisions were agreed to by House and Senate budget negotiators before the end of the regular session.

Additional coverage of the special session can be found in the following publications.

Baltimore Sun ( limited free views available)
MarylandReporter.com
Washington Post

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