Budget conferees start work on 2011 spending plan
No decision yet on teacher pensions, legislative scholarships
ANNAPOLIS Budget conferees met Monday afternoon to begin hashing out differences in the fiscal 2011 spending plan, leaving many of the thorniest issues for more study.
The House of Delegates on Friday passed a $32 billion state budget, largely on a party-line vote. The Senate on March 24 passed its version of the budget.
Each chamber cut about $120 million from the spending plan submitted by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), although many of the cuts didn't line up.
Among the decisions still to be made are what to do with the legislative scholarship program; lawmakers dole out about $11 million a year in scholarships. The House cut the program entirely.
And, the 10-member conference committee must decide what to do with teacher pensions. The Senate voted to shift half the costs onto counties, phasing it in over four years starting in 2012. The House rejected the plan.
The Senate also cut in half the $12.4 million O'Malley wants to spend on stem cell research. The House rejected any cut.