Maryland Gov. Hogan offers preview of $47.9B state budget plan

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan spoke to reporters Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan offered a few highlights Tuesday of the $47.9 billion spending plan he’s submitting to lawmakers for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Under what he called his “Accountability Budget,” Hogan does not propose a tax increase, and the plan is balanced — a Maryland state requirement.

Hogan told reporters his proposal focuses on his priorities of public safety, education, the environment and transportation.

Included in the plan is $2.6 million to add prosecutors and staff in the Office of the Attorney General. Hogan told reporters the additional money would add staff that would “be assigned specifically to handle cases related to violent crime, firearms, firearms trafficking and gangs.”

Hogan said $7.3 billion would go toward K-12 education. Also in the plan: $355 million to fund recommendations in the Kirwan Commission and $94 million to expand pre-K access.

The Kirwan Commission recommendations favored by Democratic lawmakers would add $4 billion to the state’s annual budget when phased in 10 years from now. Debate over how to achieve that is expected to dominate the legislative session.

Hogan also mentioned his already-released school construction funding plan, the $3.9 billion “Building Opportunities Act.”

The governor said his fiscal 2021 spending plan will fully fund Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, including $57.2 million for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.

Budget documents were not released at Tuesday’s announcement. The annual budget books that are handed out each year and give a detailed breakdown of the spending plan won’t be released until after the governor meets with lawmakers at a legislative breakfast Wednesday morning.

“The legislature will have the next 77 days to review it, debate it, make revisions to it and then pass a final budget, ” Hogan said of the formal budget, adding, “I’m eager for them to begin their role in the budget process.”

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