Maryland Lawmakers Approve Next Year's Budget - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Lawmakers Approve Next Year's Budget

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland General Assembly gave final approval Tuesday to the state's $43.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year.
    
Lawmakers voted for an agreement by House and Senate negotiators, who worked out differences between the two chambers in the budget legislation. Work on the state's budget bill and a separate measure working in tandem with it to balance the state's books went relatively smoothly this session.
    
"Not a lot of dramatic changes were made in conference," said Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, a Baltimore County Democrat, referring to negotiations between the chambers.
    
Negotiators did some additional trimming to build up a fund balance of about $100 million, Kasemeyer said. The senator said the panel made the cuts to boost savings after Gov. Larry Hogan submitted two supplemental budgets this month, which Kasemeyer described as "welcomed."
    
The Republican governor announced the second supplemental budget Sunday to include $23.7 million in additional state funding for Baltimore public schools, which are facing a $130 million shortfall for next year. The governor's proposal included another $4.5 million for public schools in 10 counties.
    
Earlier this month, the governor introduced a separate supplemental budget with $10 million to develop a strategy to fight the state's opioid addiction crisis.
    
Meanwhile, budget actions leave the state with about $860 million in its rainy day fund, creating nearly $1 billion in reserves.
    
As part of the effort to build up savings, budget negotiators agreed to spread out a $20 million retention package over four years instead of one as an incentive to keep Marriott headquartered in Maryland.
    
The legislature has completed work on the budget measures for the next fiscal year beginning July 1 with nearly two weeks left in its 90-day session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 10.

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