- Associated Press - Saturday, April 11, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a budget compromise on Saturday that restores a significant portion of funding for education, state employee pay and health programs sought by the Democratic-led Legislature, but it’s unclear whether lawmakers have the will or ability to pass some of Hogan’s legislative initiatives tied to the deal with time running out on the legislative session.

Hogan made the proposal in a meeting with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch. The session is scheduled to end midnight Monday.

“We made a proposal to them that we think is fair, that accomplishes many of the things that they’re trying to get done, and is a little bit more fiscally responsible and doesn’t blow a hole in the pension or in the out-year budget, but accomplishes a lot of things that are focused on,” Hogan told reporters Saturday afternoon.

Under the plan, Hogan would approve about $203 million in spending lawmakers have set aside for education, a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees and $24.9 million for health programs. However, Hogan’s plan only restores 75 percent of a fund that goes to Maryland jurisdictions where education costs more, rather than the 100 percent Democrats were seeking. It also doesn’t fund the health programs as much as Democrats wanted. Instead, it restores $75 million in an extra pension payment that Democrats had planned to use to make extra room in the budget.

Hogan also is pushing for several of his legislative initiatives.



The House of Delegates took action on three of them Saturday, including the governor’s push to help expand charter schools, some tax relief on military pensions and ending state-mandated stormwater management fees. Lawmakers already have acted favorably on Hogan’s push to revive a public campaign financing fund for gubernatorial candidates.

However, Hogan hasn’t given up on a proposal for tax credits for businesses that provide financial support to help low-income students attend private schools. The governor who ran on bringing tax relief to Maryland residents also is sticking by his push for a tax relief aimed at small businesses.

The tax credit bill for donations to public and private schools has run into resistance in the House. In a nod to the governor, House budget negotiators have added $7.5 million in added state support for private schools, instead. However, Hogan said Saturday that wasn’t what he was looking for.

“It’s not our idea, and it’s a different deal,” Hogan said.

Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said it would be hard for his chamber of 141 members to act in the last day of the session on the tax credit measure for school donations and the measure aimed at providing tax relief to small businesses.

“You have to lay out basically a game plan that you would like to try to accomplish and march in that direction,” the speaker said. “It’s a large moving group of people that, you know, are basically a day away from adjourning, and you’re not going to be able to turn them, you know, all of a sudden turn and go in a different direction.”

Miller, D-Calvert, told senators after the meeting that he’s not sure what will happen with the budget on Monday.

“It’s going to be most of what we wanted, but obviously with the $75 million that he sent down in the third supplemental, it can’t be all that we voted for,” Miller said, referring to the $75 million pension payment Hogan is focused on restoring.

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