ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s $39 billion budget is moving forward in the state’s House of Delegates.

The House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to sticking with a plan already approved by the Senate to avoid cuts to education, health and other programs. The plan calls for using $200 million that had been planned to strengthen the long-term financing of the state’s pension system.

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Supporters say the state will gradually restore the full $300 million paid annually beyond the required payment to fully fund the state’s pension system by 2039. But opponents say using the money now will cost the state more in the long run.

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The House will likely vote on the bill this week. Differences between the House and Senate will need to be worked out before the Legislature’s April 7 adjournment.

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