Analyst to Md. lawmakers: find more budget cushion

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Local,Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A top Maryland budget analyst is encouraging lawmakers to create a greater budget cushion than one included in Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget plan.

Warren Deschenaux said Monday lawmakers should aim to create a fund balance of about $100 million for the next fiscal year. He says the budget submitted by O'Malley last week has about a $30-million cushion.

That's above the state's Rainy Day Fund of about $800 million, but lawmakers and analysts always aim to have that money safely set aside without needing to be tapped.

Deschenaux cited uncertainty about a Court of Appeals ruling that would require poor defendants to have an attorney at initial bail reviews as a reason to set aside more money. That could cost roughly $30 million for the state to implement.

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