FY 2011 state budget may have 0% growth; pensions on hold for this session

The Spending Affordability Committee, chaired by Delegate John Bohanan, will be meeting with the Governor on December 17th to make its formal recommendation of what amount, if any, the state can afford to grow the FY 2011 state budget.  While it is projected that Maryland might see actual growth (3.4%) in revenues, the Committee is leaning toward recommending an unprecedented 0% increase.  Last year they recommended a 0.7% increase.

The Governor is not legally obligated to follow the recommendation of the Committee, but for the most part, he does so.  With a 0% increase in the budget, any inflationary or mandatory cost increases (e.g. health insurance) would have to be counter-balanced by cuts in other programs.

Another suggestion has been to shift some or all of the costs of the State Teachers Pension, which is currently fully funded by the state, to the local government.  House Speaker Michael Busch feels strongly that pensions will not be on the table this year because of upcoming elections.  However, it is inevitable that pensions will be addressed at some point during the next two sessions.

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