The top budget negotiator for the House of Delegates said her chamber and the Senate could iron out their differences over next year's spending plan as soon as Tuesday but then must turn to a wider gap between the Democratic-run General Assembly and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Del. Maggie McIntosh, the Baltimore Democrat who heads the House Appropriations Committee, said Monday night that she expects House conferees to meet with their Senate counterparts about mid-day Tuesday. A meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon had been called off to give House leaders time to scrutinize the supplemental budget Hogan submitted last week.
McIntosh said lawmakers were disappointed that Hogan's supplemental budget used only $2 million of the money lawmakers cut -- $178 million by the House and $206 million by the Senate -- to address the legislature's priorities including education, health care and restoring state employee raises. The $2 million was for heroin treatment.
"Where's the other $176 million or $204 million?" McIntosh asked.
While Hogan has stressed bipartisanship in his public pronouncements, McIntosh said she saw no signs of it in his supplemental budget. That budget allocated money for tax cuts the Senate had already turned down and for expansion of the Maryland State Police.
Hogan aides have said the governor is committed to bringing Marylanders tax relief and believes the state police need to be brought up to their former strength.