Governor Martin O'Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch today held a joint press conference to discuss details on the special session set to begin next week.
The special session will be held to complete work on Maryland's budget to ensure that Maryland's Triple A bond rating is protected, and critical investments in public education, public safety, the State's workforce, and critical social services are restored.
"There's too much at stake not to move forward," said Governor O'Malley. "Progress is a choice that we must make now to protect our priorities of job creation, education, public safety, and our Bay and environment. All of this progress is threatened if we don't act. That's why we've called this session and that's why together we are making the choice to move forward with a balanced approach of cuts, revenues and investment."
"We made significant progress in many areas of importance to our citizens this session. The lack of consensus on how to move forward on the budget was unfortunate and these measures will ensure our current year budget is balanced. The Senate hoped to resolve more of the significant and ongoing deficit but the members of the Senate are committed to coming back to Annapolis to avoid these cuts to education, healthcare and public safety," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. "We are hopeful that we can come to consensus in the future to resolve the remaining $500 million deficit and maintain our shared priorities in the future."
"Each year our citizens expect us to make the tough decisions necessary to balance the state's budget, preserve our shared priorities and maintain our reputation as a financially well managed state," said Speaker Michael E. Busch.
"We do not and should not ever abdicate this responsibility and govern by default."
Maryland remains one of only eight states to maintain a Triple A bond rating, certified by all three rating agencies. The proposed budget will include almost $600 million in further spending reductions across FY12 and FY13 than were originally proposed in the Administration's January budget. For the sixth year in a row, it will meet Spending Affordability Committee guidelines, exceeding the targeted 50 percent reduction in the recession/revenue-driven structural deficit. The proposed budget also grows by only 2.6 percent over FY12 -- the third lowest growth rate in two decades. Additionally, State General Fund spending decreases by $380 million in FY13, excluding appropriations to the Rainy Day Fund. The proposal will increase the projected fund balance to $204 million.
Taken together with the five percent Rainy Day Fund, the State will have nearly $1 billion in reserves to protect Maryland's Triple A bond rating.
The "doomsday' budget is out of balance by $71 million. By comparison, the Administration's proposed January budget preserved a $164 million fund balance and the Sine Die conference committee's compromise plan preserved a $155 million fund balance.