Wednesday, April 25, 2012

AUDIO: Gov. Martin O'Malley Seeks Budget Deal By 5/23, But Without Gambling // Casino Plans May Be Punted to August

Numerous outlets yesterday reported that Gov. Martin O'Malley met with Maryland Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch to try and work out a budget deal. After the breakfast meeting, Governor O'Malley met with reporters and gave hints as to what Marylanders could expect to see unfolding in the coming weeks. We provide an audio clip of Gov. O'Malley's remarks below. The Baltimore Sun also reported on his comments:

BALTIMORE SUN: Gov. Martin O'Malley and top leaders of the General Assembly are considering the possibility of holding two special legislative sessions — one in May to deal with the state budget and another in summer to consider an expansion of casino gambling in Maryland.

O'Malley disclosed the possible plan Tuesday in Baltimore, shortly after he met in Annapolis with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch to discuss the prospect of calling senators and delegates back to the capital to raise taxes and avert about $500 million in cuts to popular programs.

While the three leaders — all Democrats — reached no final agreement, the governor said that it was a cordial meeting and that progress had been made on resolving budget issues left over from the regular session, which ended April 9.

In separate interviews, both Miller and Busch said they were open to the idea of holding two special sessions. Busch said legislative leaders were looking at the week of May 14-18 as the most likely time for the special session on budget issues.

Listen to an excerpt from Gov. O'Malley's remarks to reporters below. The full audio is available at the Governor's blog:

Notably, the splitting off of gambling issues from the budget is potentially an early victory for the Governor, House Speaker and gambling foes. Postponing the heated gaming deliberations allows Maryland to move on with the budget, but it also gives both sides of the casino debate time to regroup. We shall see where this goes!

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