Budget pain ahead for O'Malley's successor

Gov. Martin O’Malley unveiled his $39.2 billion fiscal 2015 budget Wednesday, a spending plan that supports jobs, but also leaves the next governor with a projected deficit and increases spending 5 percent, or about $2 billion. O’Malley (D) balanced his budget and closed a $584 million shortfall without raising taxes. By law, Maryland budgets must balance. Among the spending cuts and balancing acts, the administration cut pension fund payments, transferred from other funds with a plan to sell bonds to backfill, and sold old helicopters to craft the spending plan. But there is a disconnect between the governor’s rhetoric and his actual spending plan, said Del. Gail H. Bates (R-Dist. 9A) of West Friendship. (Gazette)

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GOP gubernatorial hopefuls debate taxes, economy

Republicans competing for their party’s nomination faced each other Thursday night in the first formal debate in the race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley. Four candidates discussed the state’s economy, its budget, education, decriminalizing marijuana and the state’s storm water fees in an hour-long debate organized by WBFF Fox 45, the Baltimore affiliate. (Balt. Sun)

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Jan. 16 // Brown surges ahead in Dem. money race

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown surged into the lead in fundraising in the Democratic campaign for governor as he built up his treasury to slightly more than $7 million. Brown's strong performance over the past year vaulted him above Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who on Wednesday reported having $6.3 million on hand. (Balt. Sun)

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In Maryland attorney general race, Frosh leads Cardin, other rivals in money chase

Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery) finished the year with more than twice as much money in the bank as any of his rivals for Maryland attorney general. Frosh on Wednesday reported having more than $795,000 on hand, while Del. Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore County) said he had nearly $375,000. Another rival for the job, Del. C. William Frick (D-Montgomery), trailed with about $134,000 as of Jan. 8. (Wash. Post)

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Announced GOP gubernatorial candidates post weak financial numbers

Maryland's three announced Republican candidates for governor have posted weak numbers in the campaign finance reports due Wednesday – leaving the door wide open for the expected entry of a new contender. Larry Hogan, founder of the conservative advocacy group Change Maryland, plans to announce his candidacy Tuesday. (Balt. Sun)

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O’Malley unveils $39 billion budget that he says closes shortfall without raising taxes

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley unveiled a $39.3 billion budget Wednesday that offered few new initiatives but that he said would close a projected $421 million deficit without raising taxes and put the state on a path toward removing a structural deficit by 2017. (Wash. Post)

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Mayor says she won't wave 'Schmoke flag of legalization' for marijuana

As some Maryland lawmakers rally for marijuana legalization, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will not be among them. The mayor on Wednesday spoke out against legalizing the drug, saying she does not endorse efforts by a previous mayor, Kurt Schmoke, to advocate for decriminalization. (Balt. Sun)

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Leggett opens up big lead in fundraising for Montgomery county executive’s race

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has opened up a better than 3-to-1 cash advantage over Democratic primary opponent Doug Duncan in his bid for a third term, according to reports filed Wednesday with the Maryland State Board of Elections. Leggett reported donations of $653,986 over the past year and $971,159 total cash on hand, including funds from prior campaigns. Duncan, the former three-term county executive (1994-2006), disclosed contributions of $409,834 and $330,120 in the bank. (Wash. Post)

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