Senate Passes $39 Billion Budget Plan for Fiscal 2015

The Maryland Senate passed a $39 billion budget plan today closing a larger than expected budget gap resulting from declining state revenues and leaving an approximate $100 million fund balance at the end of fiscal 2015. To balance the budget, the Senate plan takes a larger share of the pension reinvestment dollars and transfers them to the State’s General Fund.

As reported by the Washington Post:

Instead of paying an additional $300 million a year into the state pension system over the amount required annually, the Senate’s budget would contribute only $100 million in fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. O’Malley proposed permanently reducing the supplemental pension payment to $200 million and using the money to support current needs. Under the Senate version, however, the $100 million supplemental payment would be restored in phases to $300 million by 2019.

Under the Senate plan, the State’s General Fund budget increases by 3.9%, staying within spending affordability guidelines, and provides additional funding in the following areas:

The Senate’s budget would also boost higher education funding by $103 million, or about 8 percent, to about $1.4 billion, enabling colleges and universities to hold down tuition hikes to 3 percent. The budget would increase K-12 school spending by $124.5 million, or 2.4 percent, to $6.1 billion.

The budget would provide a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for state employees, fund their full-year merit raises for the first time since 2009, and allow them to skip paying health insurance premiums for an additional four pay periods.

The fiscal 2015 budget will be taken in up the House Appropriations Committee next week.

The following documents summarize the Senate budget plan and all approved actions.

Report on Senate Bill 170 – the Budget Bill and Senate Bill 172 – the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act
Report of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to the Maryland Senate
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Reprint to Senate Bill 172
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Reprint to Senate Bill 170

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