Maryland Senate Unanimously Approves Budget Plan

The Maryland Senate unanimously passed its budget plan earlier today, which only makes modest changes to the budget passed by the House.

As reported by the Washington Post,

The Maryland Senate voted to unanimously approve a $40.4 billion state budget that wipes out 75 percent of the state’s structural deficit and restores funding cuts made by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to education and state employees’ salaries.

The 46 to 0 vote was followed by cheers in the Senate chamber.

Veteran lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, said they could not recall a budget process that went smoother.

Both budget plans almost restore full funding for education, restore a 2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for State employees, and increase Medicaid rates for health care providers. A Baltimore Sun article highlights one difference that will need to be resolved.

The main difference between the Senate and House plans is that the House removed Hogan’s proposed 1 percent cap on education formula increases. The Senate kept the caps but raised them to 1.5 percent in future budgets.

The Senate also identified an additional $24 million to be  redirected to General Assembly priorities.

It’s anticipated that a House and Senate conference committee will meet next week to resolve the differences in each chamber’s plan.

For more information on the proposed FY 2016 budget and the House and Senate budget plans, see our previous posts on Conduit Street.