General Assembly Passes “Doomsday” Budget, Special Session a Possibility

As the General Assembly session came to end, lawmakers passed a balanced budget, but did not have time to pass the accompanying legislation that would have shifted teacher pension costs to county governments or enacted a number of revenue measures to fund certain priorities in the FY 2013 budget.  Instead a “doomsday” budget containing $512.2 million in reductions will take effect.  These reductions, largely affecting eduction spending, were made in the budget (SB 150), contingent upon passage of the SB 152, Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2012, and SB 523, State and Local Revenue and Financing Act of 2012.   SB 152 and SB 523 did not pass.

There is speculation that the Governor may call a special session to bring members back together to pass the remaining pieces of the FY 2013 budget plan, but no action has been taken at this time.  From the Washington Post:

The failure to bring the tax bill to a vote all but assured that for the first time in two decades work related to Maryland’s annual spending plan would continue beyond Monday’s scheduled end to the legislature’s 90-day session.

The timing of a special session is not known.  During a bill signing this morning, the Governor “did not heed appeals to call a special session that would allow the legislature to finish its work.”

Should the “doomsday” budget take effect, the following reductions totaling $262.2 million will be made to local governments in place of the teacher pension shift.

  • Reduce per pupil foundation amount from $6,671 to $6,650 – $70.9 million
  • Eliminate GCEI – $128.8 million
  • Eliminate Teacher Quality Incentives and National Board Certification fees – $5.2 million
  • Reduce disparity grant by 10% – $12 million
  • Eliminate supplemental disparity grant – $19.6 million
  • Reduce library and State library network funding by 10% – $5 million
  • Eliminate local law enforcement grants – $20.8 million

A county breakdown of these reductions can be found here.

Other reductions totaling $249.9 million will be made in place of an increase in General Fund revenues.

Additional press coverage can be found below.

Baltimore Sun (limited free views available)
MarylandReporter.com

Washington Times

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