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Busch, O'Malley Call for Budget Compromise

Budget bill must be passed by midnight or General Assembly will extend its session.

Gov. Martin O'Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch called on the Senate to compromise on a state budget in time for the General Assembly to end its session at midnight Monday.

"The one constitutional obligation we have is to pass a balanced budget," Busch said, adding that House members assigned to the conference committee were prepared to complete negotiations.

"Because one chamber has an obsession with a certain issue, that they do not want to concur on the budget until that issue is resolved does not initiate any responsible stand for us not to deal with the budget that is in front of us," Busch said speaking of a Senate effort to expand gambling to include table games and a sixth Maryland casino location in Prince George's County.

Read more on Patch about the progress of Anne Arundel County's first casino, currently under construction at Arundel Mills in Hanover and scheduled to open in June.

"They have 11 hours to comply and get the bill through the Senate and to the House or we do not meet our constitutional obligation," Busch said. "This budget should have been passed three days ago."

O'Malley seconded Busch and asked for both chambers to resolve their differences.

"We're down to the final hours of this year's legislative session," O'Malley said. "The biggest question and the top priority, all of us would agree we have to resolve in the next 12 hours, is the budget.

"I would really hope all the leaders both the House and Senate come together in a sense of mutual respect, conciliation and compromise in order to do the people's business," O'Malley said.

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the year at midnight Monday. Failure to reach a budget agreement would require legislators to come back on Tuesday.

In reality, legislators do not have until midnight to complete their work on the budget. Rules require that the budget come to the floor in a printed form and Busch said that means a compromise would have to be completed by about 7 p.m. to allow for printing.

O'Malley said he is also hoping to work out a deal on a gas sales tax or penny increase to the sales tax that would be dedicated to transportation projects.

"That one will be a very, very tough lift in the next 11 hours," O'Malley said, speaking of either increase.

Dave Williams April 10, 2012 at 07:40 PM
We have far to many state and city employees now. Make some real cuts,,, 15,000 state and 7,500 city workers. That would kick start a real budget cut and control of our states spending. Both these men live pretty darn good on taxpayers money,,, but don't give a darn about the tax payers themselves. We have to many people in this state vote for their personal pocket books because their paid by the state, or recieve handouts from the state. I wonder how this state will survive with only government paid citizens as the rest of us move out of state.
patricia April 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Let's see, last time they "balanced the budget", they stole money from the transportation fund to make it look as though they balanced the budget. So now O'Malley, Miller and Busch want to put the money back into the transportation fund by RAISING TAXES AND FEES , AGAIN!! And that's what they call balancing the budget. How do these socialists keep getting voted back into office??
Jim Davis April 11, 2012 at 02:04 AM
"How do these socialists keep getting voted back into office??" Because, we keep reelecting them! They spend the actual taxpayer's money to shift it to their "constituents" who thrive on the State's largesse, then blame the people who really pay taxes when their funds run short. I'm not a member of the "Tea Party" yet, but the demonstrated fiscal mismanagement is driving me there.
Scott DiBiasio April 11, 2012 at 03:05 AM
With Senate President Mike MILLER and Speaker BUSCH at the helm, we all should have known what we were in for...a BAD hangover!
Mandy Johnson April 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Have any of these people ever handled a checkbook? Run a home? A real business? There is no tax base in many areas, no incoming funds, badly planned expenditure and the solution is gambling? We, the people, are tired of gerrymandering to stay in power, fiscal irresponsibility by those with the power and catering to those who have the power without earning the right to keep it. Where are the leaders who uphold hard work, saving, investing and growth through education and commerce? Our politicians would have us believe that the solution to all our fiscal ills is slots and casinos. This isn't a simple flutter on the lottery. It smacks of blatant long-term corruption as in Baltimore at every level when MOM was Mayor. A lack of tax base, usurping of State funds to support a city "on the edge" without new business growth the city. Now our state cannot sustain itself under O'Malley's leadership. We are no longer prosperous and cannot cover our expenditure yet the Merry Band are touting enabling the poor, unemployed and hopeless to further gamble their welfare checks in order to support the creating of more casinos to lose in. Are we insane? Wherever there is poverty there is gambling, exploitation, crime, violence and continued racketeering. We cannot further exploit our citizens while claiming the Kantian imperative of greater good. Once Anne Arundel County opened the casino door it was inevitable the rest would follow. The "goodfellas" rule and we are an endangered species!

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