ANNAPOLIS — The 2012 General Assembly is scheduled to close Monday with lawmakers working frantically to approve a budget and decide the fates of hundreds of bills in advance of the session’s adjournment at the stroke of midnight.
It will be a whirlwind day filled with voting and debate on hundreds of bills, including proposals to expand gambling in Maryland and bring offshore-wind energy to the state, both of which have passed one chamber but face stubborn resistance in the other.
The assembly kicked into high gear last week, holding multiple floor sessions on some days and even going into work Saturday.
The Senate passed a House-endorsed doubling of the $30-a-year flush tax to fund sewage-treatment facilities. The chambers must settle differences between their approved versions of the bill, which would require most homeowners to pay $60 a year.
They still must resolve numerous other differences on issues, including the devaluing of personal tax exemptions and shifting of teacher pension costs to counties.
The approved income-tax increases would target single taxpayers making more than $100,000 annually and couples making more than $150,000 and would raise their tax rates more aggressively than either chamber originally proposed.
While the budget debate could stretch beyond Monday, all non-budget bills are dead if they don’t pass before midnight.
One of the most notable non-budget bills left on the calendar is a proposal to legalize table games at slots facilities in the state and bring a casino to Prince George’s County.
A Senate-approved bill that would do that appears all but dead in the House Ways and Means Committee, where lawmakers are worried that slots in Prince George’s could take business away from the state’s other five locations — only two of which have opened.
They also argue that the bill provides too little revenue to the state and too much to casino operators.View Entire Story
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David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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