No new taxes, 3 percent college tuition hike proposed in O'Malley's final budget

ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Martin O'Malley is proposing to help fill a budget shortfall in Maryland by making a smaller payment toward long-term state pension reform.

O'Malley said Wednesday the $172 million saved helps close a $584 million budget shortfall. O'Malley also points out that this budget will leave the state with a $37 million surplus and includes no new taxes.

Education is also a top priority in the $39 billion budget proposal. This includes a 3 percent increase in college tuition, $286 million for public school construction and 4.3 million in new funding to expand pre-kindergarten opportunities for Maryland children.

Other highlights of the budget include $20.3 million to improve the state's correction facilities, which includes $4 million to hire 100 correctional officers, $42.3 million for the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund and more than $100 million in enhancements to wastewater treatment plants.

"This jobs budget puts us on the path to eliminating our inherited structural deficit by 2017, with no tax or fee increases," said O'Malley in a statement. "This fiscally-responsible budget builds on the tremendous progress we've made as a state, strengthening our economy by supporting 48,000 jobs, protecting our No. 1 in the nation schools with record investments in education, and upgrading our transportation infrastructure with modern investments."

Maryland lawmakers will spend much of the legislative session working on the governor's budget proposal.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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