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State Roundup Jan. 19, 2010

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The Washington Post's Aaron Davis and John Wagner have a preview of Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget, which will be revealed this week. O'Malley proposes to close the nearly $2 billion budget gap by shuffling money around, cutting state programs, and eliminating hundreds of positions.

Steve Fermier of WBAL Radio has an audio preview of the budget announcement, and reports that O’Malley plans to transfer $900 million from special state funds, much of it money that was supposed to be used for capital projects and now will be borrowed.

Sean Sedam of The Gazette of Politics and Business tries to get to the bottom of just how many people will be laid off according to O'Malley's budget proposal. And WBAL's Steve Fermier reports on possible funding increases in the areas of job creation and Chesapeake Bay restoration. The Annapolis Capital has more.

The Baltimore Sun's editorial board analyzes some budget cut proposals put forth by legislators in advance of the release of Gov. O'Malley's budget. They say the General Assembly should scrap its "bond bill" program because of poor financial controls, and that they should keep the historic tax credit program for building restorations despite lawmakers' concerns.

Over the first six weeks of the state's speed camera program, nearly 8,800 citations were issued to drivers, WBAL reports. WJZ has video. Fox 45 has video too. The Sun had the story on Monday.

Athena Merritt of the Baltimore Business Journal writes about table gaming legislation being considered in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and takes a look at its effect on Maryland’s fledgling slots program.

Adam Bednar of the Carroll County Times talks to the director of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Insitute about the organization's Maryland budget game.

Polling shows likely Republican challenger Andy Harris ahead of Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil on the Eastern Shore, Chris Cillizza writes in his "The Fix" blog for the Post (via Inside Charm City).

In her column in the Washington Examiner, Marta Mossburg criticizes O'Malley's proposal to give business owners a $3,000 tax credit for hiring Marylanders who lost their jobs as nonsensical.

An editorial in The Sun praises President Obama for being more open to plans for transit systems, but says there is still much thought that must go into planning Baltimore's Red Line to ensure that it is cost-effective.

Del. Wendell Beitzel, a Western Maryland Republican, has been recognized as a "Friend of Coal," the Cumberland Times-News reports.

Legislative aide Lisa Baugher, a Democrat who served under Del. Rick Weldon and now works for Republican Del. Charles Jenkins, won’t run for state Senate. Meg Tully has the story in the Frederick News-Post.

State budget cuts are putting Towson University's "scrappy" debate team at risk, Childs Walker reports in The Sun.

Bryan Sears writes in his blog for Patuxent that the Baltimore County delegation has set its leadership. It’s Sens. Norman Stone and Kathy Klausmeier, plus Dels. Eric Bromwell and Steve Deboy.

Tully writes in her blog for the News-Post that Maryland will help federal officials as they aid U.S. citizens returning from Haiti.

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