ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled the highlights of his proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget Tuesday afternoon as the state continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Hogan said the budget will be structurally balanced without tax increases, layoffs or cuts to essential services.

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Among the items Hogan proposed are immediate tax and economic relief for Marylanders and small businesses, $7.5 billion for K-12 schools and nearly $1 billion for mental health and substance abuse programs to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic.

A “top legislative priority,” Hogan said, is the RELIEF Act of 2021, which he announced last week. That legislation would provide state tax cuts, an income tax credit and direct stimulus payments to lower-income Marylanders.

“After a long and difficult year of sacrifice and struggle, our top economic priority is making sure that Marylanders can keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets,” Hogan said.

Hogan is again proposing tax cuts for retirees. Hogan made a similar proposal last year that stalled.

The total amount of the governor’s budget plan is about $49.4 billion.

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The General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, will work on the budget during its legislative session, which began last week.

“We look forward to reviewing the details, but the Governor’s high level overview sounds promising,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat. “We will continue our unified, bipartisan focus on getting targeted resources to the most vulnerable Marylanders for this once in 100 year pandemic.”

The full budget is set to be released Wednesday.

The latest General Assembly session began last Wednesday with a number of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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CBS Baltimore Staff