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Maryland Senate unanimously approves $44.5 billion state operating budget

In a show of bipartisan unity, the Maryland Senate voted unanimously Thursday to approve the state’s $44.5 billion operating budget and send it to the House of Delegates.

The state spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 represents a 2.2 percent increase over the current fiscal year.

Senators also voted 45-0 for a companion bill that keeps the budget in balance, as required by the state Constitution.

While many measures this election year have been ensnared in politics, the bills implementing Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget did not. Potential divisions over the budget were smoothed over by a generally rosy fiscal picture, aided by this month’s revised estimate of tax revenues showing the state would take in about $400 million more than expected.

Republican senators lauded the leadership of Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, the Howard County Democrat who chairs the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Sen. George Edwards said Kasemeyer, who is retiring after leading the committee for almost a decade, made sure the three GOP members of the committee were included in budget decisions.Edwards, a Garrett County Republican, noted that the budget includes no significant tax increases.

“It’s one of the best budgets I’ve seen in the long time that I’ve been here,” Edwards said.

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