The Maryland General Assembly gave final approval Tuesday to a $44.5 billion budget.
The budget includes a 2.2 percent increase in spending over last year and more than $6.5 billion in funding for public education.
The state is also setting aside $41.6 million to improve school safety around the state, capping tuition increases at state public colleges at 2 percent and providing a 2 percent salary increase for state workers.
All of Frederick County’s General Assembly lawmakers voted in favor of the state budget, which passed near unanimously.
But more than three dozen lawmakers voted against a companion bill, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act, which outlined how an anticipated $547 million increase in state tax revenue as the result of federal tax reform would be spent.
That bill, which still passed with a supermajority, set aside $200 million for future education funding, about $100 million in savings and about $100 million in tax relief.
Some Republican lawmakers said the amount dedicated to tax relief should be higher.
Delegates Kathy Afzali (R-District 4) and William Folden (R-District 3B) voted against the companion bill.
But Democrats who control the Legislature say it’s uncertain what the federal overhaul’s impact will be on Maryland, and it’s too soon to enact a series of permanent tax cuts when the overall outcome is unknown.
Maryland lawmakers have said their attempts to change the state’s tax code to offset any increases as the result of federal reforms won’t be able to address every situation. About 9 percent of state taxpayers will pay more in state taxes as a result of the federal reforms.
The Maryland Senate approved a bill that increases the standard deduction that taxpayers can claim. House legislative leaders said Tuesday that they are still working on tax bills, negotiating an agreement with senators.
There are just under two weeks left in the legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 9.
Budget negotiators included in the capital budget one appropriation specific to Frederick: an $850,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development to the city of Frederick for the purchase of land and other infrastructure improvements for a proposed hotel and conference center in downtown Frederick. The money would come from the state’s Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund. The budget amendment states that lawmakers will withhold $1 million of the Department of Housing and Community Development’s overall budget until the grant to the city of Frederick is released.
The operating budget takes effect as soon as it is passed by both chambers because the budget bill cannot be vetoed by the governor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.