House Speaker Michael E. Busch told city lawmakers they should be "upset" that the Senate budget conferees took $2.5 million from the capital budget that was earmarked for planning a new convention center in Baltimore.

"If that doesn't make you mad, nothing should make you mad," said Busch. "I just don't understand what the senators from Baltimore city were thinking," he said, referring to the city lawmakers on the conference committee.

"You are putting in tough votes, and you are going to lose the convention center," Busch said. "I wouldn't vote for one thing until that goes back in."

The city says that expanding the convention center is part of a larger development project to construct a 500-room hotel and 18,500-seat arena. City lobbyists note that when the Baltimore convention center was first built it was the country's 28th largest. It has since fallen to be the 73rd largest.

MayorStephanie Rawlings-Blake also expressed concern about the loss of the funds. "We need to put the investment in there so we can expand," she said.