Maryland's Gov.-elect Harry R. Hughes will ask the state legislature later this month to approve a $4.65 billion state budget, state officials said yesterday.
The budget totals developed by outgoing Acting Gov. Blair Lee III in consultation with Hughes' transition staff, represent the smallest annual percentage increase in state spending in at least eight years.
The new budget represents a 6 percent increase in state spending over last year's $4.37 billion. Last year's budget was 11 percent higher than the budget of the year before.
"The TRIM buffs (tax cutting advocates) ought to be quite pleased," said a member of Lee's staff." "We kept watching the spending as we went along."
Hughes has pledged to keep this year's increase in general fund expenditures to a maximum of 8 percent. In later years, he hopes to keep the increase to 5 percent.
Although details will not be available until the budget is presented to the General Assembly Jan. 19, the document is said to recommend increases in state aid to education, funds for state health facilities, salaries for state employes and the state's contribution to its retirement system.
No existing projects have been cut back, according to one budget official.