By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Local governments may find themselves up against a wall when Maryland’s new budget is released. That’s because it’s expected to contain sweeping cuts.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains government isn’t alone in that concern.

It was October 2009 on the city’s first furlough day when Shelly Baker got word that the city is imposing furlough days on the government workers who drop by her downtown flower shop on Friday’s.

“We have a lot of regular customers that come in every week, and they’re not here today,” Baker said.

They’re not here on this Friday either, and it’s not a furlough day. It’s 15 months later and Shelley’s Blossoms walk-in business is dying on the vine. She’s a small business owner in the grip of the effect of government deficits, pay cuts and tax hikes.

“Most people, you know, they’re packing lunches. It used to be that people would walk to the Inner Harbor and then they would come in on their way back or their way to get flowers to take to their desks. And now people are just doing whatever it takes to save money,” Baker said.

Now with a new round of state budget cuts, local governments can expect to see their already limited funding decrease.

“We’re all collectively holding our breath until we see what the numbers are,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Governor Martin O’Malley’s cuts — his way of handling the state’s deficit this year– has some asking if the effect will be to force local governments to ask the state to raise taxes.

“I think it’s really hard for any business to stay in business with the constant raise of taxes,” Baker said.

Everybody’s feeling the pinch.

“I don’t think the taxpayer cares if they pay at the state level or the county level. A tax is still a tax,” said Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz.

Whatever happens in Annapolis is sure to influence Baker’s future.

“I love the city and I want to continue to stay here, but it’s kinda tough,” Baker said.

No one disputes that.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. And regardless of who takes the heat, it’s the citizens who will pay.

The governor’s budget is due next week, two days after his inauguration.

Comments (2)
  1. Bite Me says:

    Local governments can expect to see there have been limited funding decreases for years. Have they been blind for years?

    It’s the citizens who will pay and as always this will happen at any cost.
    (Getting blood from a turnip)

    They who think that they can run the local government did not see this coming 2 years to 4 years ago?
    Do they have their heads up their butttt

    Impeach all that are in our local government and export all illegal aliens or so called new citizens in Maryland / the United States of America

    It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
    Everybody’s feeling the pinch. If you think not just ask the 400,000 that were laid off just last month alone in the U.S.A. or ask the 21 million PLUS that are laid off at this time.

  2. Henry Wolf says:

    all our groverment officials from the whitehouse on down should get their wages cut. plus their pensions cut. if a service man servers his country. he gets nothing for pension. if you serve as president on down, you get your full pay if you only seve one term. they raise their own pay when they want. they got their own medical ins free. they don’t pay any social sec. this our groverment for the people should look at them selves. and start to treat people like they want to be treated the people put you in office to do the best job for the people..our constiution for GOD & COUNTRY. Also ENGLISH is our language.

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