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“He gave false hope” to county leaders, Mr. Kittleman said. “He basically said to them, you’re not going to get cut … . And frankly, all of us know that’s not true.”

Mr. O'Malley has gradually defined his budget solutions through the summer, saying he would like to increase corporate taxes and legalize slot machines. But he has not detailed how he would close the bulk of the deficit or what slots package he would support.

Instead, Mr. O'Malley focused his speech yesterday on improving work-force development through education and training initiatives, improving public safety through better communication among state and local law enforcement and emergency-response agencies, and increasing environmental sustainability through energy-usage reductions and land-use policy.

The lack of specific answers about the budget disappointed some.

“I thought he owed it to the counties to give a little bit of an idea of what he’s thinking,” Mr. Kittleman said.