ANNAPOLIS —O’Malley aides were not talkative with reporters after the meeting.
“The governor will announce the budget tomorrow,” Rick Abbruzzese, O’Malley’s director of public affairs, said.
During the meeting, the speaker said O’Malley did not mention the idea of reviving a tax on people who earn $1 million a year, which was instituted in 2008 and expired in 2010. O’Malley instead talked about proposals to reduce certain tax exemptions for high-end earners.
“I think you’re looking for a possibility of over $100 million in some of the issues we’re talking about in exemption reductions,” Busch, who did not specify what exemptions are under consideration, said.
That would help counties offset some of the expense of sharing some teacher pension costs.
“The counties would get some of the money from the exemptions if they were reduced,” Busch said. “They would be a windfall to the counties as well, not a huge windfall, but there would be money that would go back to the counties.”
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, described the governor’s plan to shift teacher pension costs as a compromise, after O’Malley proposed more than $370 million to help counties with school construction. That’s the second-highest amount ever set aside by the state.
“It’s a compromise, and compromise is not a dirty word in politics,” Miller said. “You know, the governor gives some to the counties, he takes some away. He makes the counties happy; he makes them sad. Not everybody can be happy in these very difficult times.”
Busch said there was no discussion about a gas tax increase during Tuesday’s meeting with the administration. That could come later in legislation separate from the budget.
“Stay tuned,” said Raquel Guillory, an O’Malley spokeswoman, who noted that gas tax details would not be included in the governor’s public presentation of the budget today.
Miller, who has long advocated for shifting some teacher costs to the counties, said the amount the governor is proposing is not as much as he would like to see. Still, Miller described it as important progress illustrating leadership by the governor.
Staff writers Andrew Schotz, Julie E. Greene and Dave McMillion contributed to this story.