Assembly cost cut $2 million for next year

January 16, 1993|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Staff Writer

The cost of running Maryland's General Assembly next year will be $35.8 million, nearly $2 million less than was originally budgeted for this year's session.

William S. Ratchford II, director of the legislature's Department of Fiscal Services, told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee yesterday that the legislature has trimmed spending by reducing staff, not filling vacant positions, curtailing out-of-state travel, and cutting spending on supplies and equipment.

Because of the state's financial problems, this year's legislative budget was cut from the original $37.8 million to $35.2 million. The proposed budget for next year, therefore, represents a $640,000 increase over this year's final appropriation.

"You can see from the budget that there have been substantial reductions," said Senate Minority Leader John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel, who requested yesterday's budget briefing.

Even so, Mr. Ratchford said $133,500 of next year's proposed budget would be used to provide merit increases for selected House and Senate employees who have not had any raises for three years.

The governor is required to submit without change both the legislature's budget and the judiciary's as part of his overall budget because they are separate branches of government. Those budgets, however, are subject to scrutiny by the legislature.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer said Thursday his budget for next year will include about $23 million to provide "step" pay raises for about 40 percent of all state employees. State employees have been denied raises for the past three years.

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