The Maryland General Assembly easily completed its work on the state's fiscal 1987 budget today, the mandated deadline, and sent Gov. Harry Hughes the last budget of his eight years in office.
Final action came on a 108-to-24 vote in the House of Delegates after an earlier 46-to-1 vote in the Senate.
Formal approval in both houses followed adoption of a conference committee report that cut $29.6 million out of the $8.2 billion budget that Hughes originally presented and resolved the differences between the version of the budget passed by each house in recent weeks.
The measure provides funds to operate state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1 without raising taxes and establishes or improves a range of programs in such areas as housing, education and nutrition. It also establishes a $50 million reserve fund as a cushion against financial emergencies, a concept long urged by financial analysts but rejected by officials until this year after the state's protracted savings and loan crisis.
Legislators spent several hours of debate in each chamber reviewing details of individual cuts in expenditures for such things as the insurance commissioner's office and energy assistance to low-income households.
House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin, a Baltimore Democrat who is leaving the House after 20 years, eight of them as speaker, to run for Congress, noted only that he was particularly pleased that the savings and loan crisis did not foreclose state action on many new social programs.
"The budget is a strong, people's budget; it provides for people concerns and yet it reserves properly for the savings and loan crisis. We were worried at the beginning of the session that the savings and loan issue would detract from our ability to respond to other concerns. This budget shows that we can do both," he said.
Included in the budget:
*A 3.5 percent pay raise for state employes, costing $48.8 million, coupled with special pay raises in a range of areas, costing $30 million.
*A 5 percent increase for recipients in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, costing $11.7 million, and a 10 percent increase for general public assistance recipients, who are impoverished adults.
*$38.8 million for housing, including programs to spur production of low-income housing and to assist low-income residents in installing indoor plumbing, removing lead paint and conserving energy.
*$170 million to pay depositors at Old Court Savings and Loan, the Baltimore thrift where a run by depositors triggered the crisis last May.
*Increased aid to local schools, including $5.5 million to fund Prince George's County's "magnet school" desegregation program and $11.5 million to help Montgomery County pay for construction of new schools.
The budget is financed in part through a $118 million surplus from the current fiscal year.
Although lawmakers initially criticized Hughes for creating new programs and increasing spending in a year when the state was faced with resolving the thrift crisis, the General Assembly generally revised little of the operating budget.
Most of the changes came to the $30 million budget supplement that Hughes sent the assembly less than two weeks ago. He had wanted to use $9 million anticipated under a yet-to-be enacted tax amnesty program to buy new emergency helicopters, but the legislature balked. Instead the assembly decided that any money collected under the plan would go into a special reserve fund, which could then be appropriated for the helicopters or a similar project.