House Gives Preliminary Approval to Budget Plan, Final Vote Today

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The House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to its budget plan on March 26, with final approval scheduled for today’s House session. While some differences exist, the House concurred with the many of the actions taken by the Senate, including the decision to take a larger share of pension reinvestment dollars to balance the fiscal 2014 and 2015 budget.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

Del. Norman H. Conway, Appropriations Committee chairman, said there was “remarkable agreement” on the budget between the two chambers, though House members did vote to restore a pair of health and economic development programs that the Senate wants to eliminate.

As further described in the article:

The budget includes almost $6.1 billion in state support for public schools, including a $4.3 million down-payment on an initiative to expand pre-kindergarten education. The state’s colleges and universities would receive a nearly 8 percent increase in funding, which lawmakers said should be enough to limit tuition increases to 3 percent.

Delegates agreed with their Senate counterparts on a major budget-balancing issue — trimming a payment to shore up state workers’ underfunded pension system. O’Malley had proposed reducing next year’s planned $300 million contribution by one-third, but lawmakers reduced it by $200 million to help cover a drop in projected tax revenues. Legislators have vowed to restore pension contributions in a few years.

Differences in the House and Senate budget plans will be resolved through a conference committee.
The following documents summarize the Senate budget plan and all approved actions.