Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Senate President Mike Miller & Budget Leaders Release Statement on Maryland's May 14 Special Legislative Session

Below Maryland Juice prints a press statement from the office of Senate President Mike Miller. Ther release includes commentary on the forthcoming May 14th special session from Senators Ed Kasemeyer, Nathaniel McFadden, Rich Madaleno, Ed DeGrange, Jim Robey, and Verna Jones-Rodwell:


Senate Budget Leadership Announces Support for Special Session

Annapolis, Maryland – This afternoon, the Democratic leadership of the Senate Budget & Taxation committee joined together to announce their strong support for the upcoming special session, that is proposed to begin on May 14. The special session will focus exclusively on raising revenue and creating alternative cuts to avoid the currently proposed “Doomsday cuts”.

“We made significant progress in many areas of importance to our citizens this session. It was indeed unfortunate that a lack of consensus on how to move forward on the budget led us to this point, however, we recognize that our primary responsibility as a legislature is to pass a balanced budget for the year and the members of the Senate are committed to coming back to Annapolis to avoid these cuts to education, healthcare and public safety,” stated Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. “We are hopeful that the Governor and the House will work with us in the future to enact measures to resolve the remaining deficit.”

“I have always strongly believed that consensus building and compromise is the best path to reach solutions,” said Senator Ed Kasemeyer, chair of the Budget & Taxation committee. “While I am disappointed that we were not able to achieve a true compromise with the House, and we will need to address our long-term budget needs in the future, I feel strongly that we need to move forward this year on this year’s budget issues.

“Our budget this year includes over $5.7 billion for K-12 education, and billions in funding for public safety, the environment and higher education,” said Budget & Taxation Committee Vice-Chair, Senator Nathaniel McFadden. “Allowing this doomsday budget to go into place will have a harmful effect on our attempt to continue improving on education and jobs by slashing education funding, cutting positions and eliminating incentives that help to create jobs in our state. We must come back next week and pass legislation to avoid these cuts.”

“Education is the lifeblood of our state,” said Senator Richard Madaleno, chair of the Education, Business & Administration subcommittee. “After all of our positive steps forward, fully funding GCEI and being named the best school system in the country for the last four years, we cannot move back by reducing funding to K-12 education. We must move forward to ensure our students have the best education system and best educators in the country.”

“During the session, we took tremendous steps forward in creating jobs, and building a strong infrastructure for our students in the capital budget,” said Senator Ed DeGrange, Chair of the Capital Budget subcommittee and the Public Safety, Transportation, & Environment Subcommittee. “During this special session, we must come back and ensure that we do not take steps backwards on vital issues such as public safety. While I am certain there are areas of the budget which could sustain further cuts, I believe that many of the cuts contained in the doomsday budget are detrimental to our state.”

“Over the past six years, the legislature has taken tremendous steps forward to ensure that more Marylanders have health care coverage”, stated Senator Jim Robey, chair of the Health & Human Services subcommittee.  “The people who are facing the challenges associated with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and lack of basic health care that we take for granted would be severely impacted.  Now is not the time to move backwards with a Doomsday budget that would jeopardize the funding to our most vulnerable population.”

“State employees deserve a strong fiscal footing, and a sincere long-term outlook on their pensions”, stated Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell, the chair of the Pensions subcommittee. “The pension-sharing plan agreed to on Sine Die, though not perfect, will allow us to shift some of the pension costs to the counties for the next four years, while doing everything we can to ease their burden. This plan, supported by state leaders, some county leaders, the teachers and other public employees, will ensure long-term sustainability for the state while minimizing negative impact on local government.”


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