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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.