General Assembly Approves Bill That Could Transform Maryland’s Budget Process

The General Assembly today passed SB 1028 – Balancing the State Budget, legislation that could transform the state budget process. This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by the Maryland voters at the November 2020 election, would allow the General Assembly to move items around in the budget.

The Senate amended the bill to grant the governor line-item veto power for the operating budget. Under current law, the governor may only line-item veto parts or all of the capital budget.

While most state legislatures have the authority to increase or add an appropriation to the governor’s budget, Section 52 of Article III of the Maryland Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from increasing any budget item or adding any new appropriations item to the governor’s budget for Executive Branch agencies. The General Assembly can decrease an appropriation for any branch of state government and increase appropriations relating only to the legislature or Judiciary.

In addition, through a supplementary appropriations bill, the General Assembly can add expenditures if matched with new revenues. Through legislation, the General Assembly can also mandate expenditures in the Executive budget for a subsequent fiscal year.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.