A sticking point appears to be teacher pension costs.
It's coming down to the wire for the 2012 Maryland General Assembly, but there's one issue which could hold up next week's scheduled adjournment. Legislators are still wrestling with a budget.
A panel of lawmakers met on Thursday to try to iron out the differences in spending plans passed by the House of Delegates and the State Senate. "The problem is that they're still not concurring. So there has been talk by the Senate President that we could go beyond our April 9th sine die date, the end of session, until the budget is passed," says Frederick County Delegate Kelly Schultz. "Constitutionally, we can't adjourn until the budget is resolved."
The main sticking point, she says, is how to phase in teacher pension costs to the counties. "The Senate is proposing a four-year time frame to do that, and the House bill is proposing a three-year time frame," Schultz says. The Senate plan would phase it in by 25% annually to the counties over a four-year period, and the House would phase it in by 50% the first year, bring it up to 75% the second year, and 100% in the third year.
If they can't come to a decision, the General Assembly would not adjourn on April 9th as scheduled, but would remain in session until the budget is hammered out. Schultz hopes they finish up on time. "I know it's not going to bode well for the taxpayers should the legislators be in Annapolis any longer, and I would like to get it concluded by Monday at midnight," she says.