A breakfast meeting between Gov. Martin O’Malley and legislative leaders ended Tuesday morning with no apparent resolution to the disagreement over the state’s budget, but suggestions that a special session could convene in May.
The governor met with House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach for a little more than an hour in Annapolis. Afterward, Busch and Miller offered contrasting impressions of the meeting’s results but seemed to agree that the General Assembly should reconvene within the next few weeks.
“At the end of the day, it’s about determining a budget that would affect counties and different subdivisions in the state,” Busch said. “I have to take the opportunity to sit down with the leaders in the House and see if there’s a coalition we can build if, in fact, we do come back for a special session.”
Miller said the meeting was productive and that everyone was smiling. “We agreed to come together and have a special session and have this matter resolved in mid-May,” he told reporters in a brief discussion after the meeting.
Miller did not comment on whether income tax rates or an expansion of gaming had been discussed.
O’Malley did not address the deliberations with members of the media before leaving Government House to attend a State Board of Education meeting in Baltimore, but members of his staff said that discussions on a budget compromise were ongoing.
“We’re making progress, coming together. There’s no more detail than that,” said Rick Abbruzzese, O’Malley’s communications director.
Budget negotiations between the House and Senate stalled regarding whether income taxes should be raised for those making less than $100,000. The stalemate, which some say became entwined with the question of whether to expand gambling in the state, prevented lawmakers from passing a tax package to accompany the budget bill before the legislature adjourned April 9. If the legislature does not act, a default budget with more than $500 million in cuts will take effect July 1.
The governor has said that he will not convene a special session unless there is consensus on the spending plan.
Miller proposed a compromise Friday that would lower the threshold for the increase from an adjusted gross income of $100,000 for a single filer to an adjusted gross income of $75,000, which Miller said would correspond to an overall income of $100,000.
Busch said the tax rates were not discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.