The Maryland House of Delegates has given approval to Governor Martin O’Malley’s state budget for last year along with his decision to transfer responsibility for teacher pension costs partially to county governments. The budget passed by 95-43, with the vote split roughly along party lines. The Budget Reconciliation Act, which incorporated the transfer of pension costs, passed by 88-50 with some Democrats joining Republicans in opposition to the measure. The bill which increased taxes on tobacco products passed by 81-56. The bills concerning income tax increases have the most differentiation at the moment, with the House bill focusing increases on people making more than $100,000 a year while the Senate bill spreads the increases amongst all but the lowest earners. The bill requiring counties to maintain a minimum spend of schools passed by 93-44 and was the only bill to pass unamended, meaning that it goes directly to the Governor while the other head back to the Senate for ratification of the amendments. Maryland’s commitment to education spending is no surprise given that Maryland has been ranked as the top state for education policy and performance for four years running by Education Week and Governor O’Malley has repeatedly pushed for increased investment in education over the last decade. “For 2012, the nation as a whole earns a C for school finance… Seven states—Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wyoming—earn the top grade of B-plus for school finance; four states receive a D, the lowest grade.” Maryland also received an ‘A’ for early education programs and preparing students for further education and entrance to the postgraduate job market, while being highly commended for its outstanding results on Advanced Placement tests.