BALTIMORE (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan has decided to maintain a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

Hogan said Wednesday that $68 million will be made available for the increase in the next fiscal year.

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The Republican governor says he saw firsthand how committed state employees are to Maryland citizens during last week’s handling of unrest in Baltimore. He says state employees need and deserve the pay increase.

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Hogan initially did not include the cost-of-living adjustment in his budget plan in January to help address a budget shortfall he inherited. The legislature made room in the budget for the cost-of-living adjustment during the 90-day legislative session that ended last month. The decision to follow through with spending the money rested with Hogan.

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