- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Maryland’s General Assembly will meet in a special session beginning May 14 to finish work on the fiscal 2013 budget.
“There is too much at stake not to move forward,” Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said in a statement. “I’m confident that we can come together with the Senate president and House speaker to complete this most important work for the people of our state.”
The sessions is likely to last two or three days. Legislative leaders said last week that they are very close to an agreement on completing the budget.
The governor said April 24 that a budget resolution is necessary before May 23, when the state’s Board of Public Works will meet to consider $130 million in cuts required to balance the so-called “doomsday” budget.
“I think we’ll deal with it in a two-day session, May 14 and May 15, perhaps May 16, but it will get done,” Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Prince George’s) told reporters this week, before Friday’s official announcement.
During the regular session, budget negotiations between the House and Senate stalled regarding whether income taxes should be raised for those making less than $100,000. Although an agreement was reached late in the day April 9, the stalemate — which some say became entwined with the question of whether to expand gambling in the state — prevented lawmakers from passing a tax package to accompany the budget bill before the legislature adjourned that night.
If the legislature does not act, a default budget with more than $500 million in cuts would take effect July 1.
Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) have been divided over where the new budget negotiations should begin.
In a letter sent to both the speaker and O’Malley last month, Miller suggested a compromise that would lower the threshold for the increase from an adjusted gross income of $100,000 for a single filer to an adjusted gross income of $75,000, which Miller said would correspond to an overall income of $100,000. This would generate more revenues but “not tax salaries below levels sought by the House,” he wrote.
Busch told reporters last week that he thought a budget compromise should be close to the agreement reached April 9.
House Republicans argue a special session is not worth the cost to taxpayers and the state should just accept the default budget, which is nearly $700 million more than the fiscal 2012 spending plan, the group says.
A special session could cost about $25,000 per day, according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.
Staff writer Danielle Gaines contributed to this report.