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Maryland Lawmakers Draw On Pensions To Pass $38.7B Budget

It took some compromise to pass the state budget in Annapolis, Md., over the weekend.
Matt Bush/WAMU
It took some compromise to pass the state budget in Annapolis, Md., over the weekend.

Maryland lawmakers approved some key fiscal measures this weekend.

The General Assembly approved the state's $38.7 billion budget after the state Senate and House worked out some last minute differences in the plan. Lawmakers say they avoided dramatic cuts in the budget by using $200 million that was originally earmarked for the state's pension system.

In 2011, lawmakers agreed to pay $300 million above its required annual pension payment to shore up unfunded liabilities in the pension system. Lawmakers plan to gradually restore the full $300 million over several years.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted 34-13 to increase the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.00 in January. Additional annual increases would apply, starting in July of next year eventually topping out at $10.10 in 2018.

The Senate added a provision to give community service providers who work with the developmentally disabled a raise to keep their salaries above the minimum wage. That provision would need House approval to send the bill to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.

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