By Elliott Francis
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley says he can close next year's $2 billion budget gap with fewer layoffs than expected.
To help eliminate that gap, O'Malley says he'll delay certain capital projects, and add a 3 percent tuition hike for state universities. In addition, 67,000 of the state's 80,000 employees will be forced to take ten unpaid furlough days and state workers will not get a salary hike.
"This is not a decision we take lightly," says O'Malley. "It's a decision that we have to make in order to prevent more layoffs which would only exacerbate what we're all trying to solve here."
On the other hand, O'Malley managed to cut only 44 jobs while eliminating approximately 200 unfilled positions.
"At the end of the day because of the decisions we make we're going to come out of this in much better shape than we would have if the decisions were made in other ways," says O'Malley.
The budget also is planning to see an $85 million windfall in gaming revenue from the state's fledgling gambling industry.
Virginia's attorney general Ken Cuccinelli will face former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe in November to become Virginia's 72nd governor.