Md. GOP To Outline Deeper Budget Cuts

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland House Republicans outlined plans Tuesday to reduce state spending by $621 million more than Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

The GOP’s plan would make significant cuts to education. For example, the plan would save about $120 million a year by ending funding that compensates school districts where education costs more. Republicans also propose eliminating Maryland’s legislative scholarship program, which would save nearly $12 million a year. They also say their plan would save $174 million by basing education aid on average daily attendance.

Republicans made the proposals while criticizing a package of tax hikes proposed by Senate Democrats.

“There seems to be an unfortunate and growing appetite for tax increases among many in the House and Senate,” said Delegate Anthony O’Donnell, R-Calvert.

The proposals were made at a hearing on the state’s Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act, legislation that has become a hotly debated annual fixture in Annapolis as the recession has eroded state revenues in recent years. The measure is needed as a companion to the state’s budget bill, because state revenues can’t support spending required by law, forcing lawmakers to make adjustments.

O’Malley’s budget proposal closes a budget shortfall of roughly $1.4 billion. The Legislature is now considering additional cuts to the governor’s budget.

Nonpartisan state budget analysts made separate recommendations for lawmakers to consider. One that drew protests from education representatives would shift half of the cost of teacher pensions to local governments.

John Woolums, director of government relations for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, said that would shift about $250 million to local school systems.

“That would be devastating to us,” Woolums said.

Some Democrats have bristled at complaints from educators about $94 million in spending reductions to school systems statewide in the governor’s budget, after years of record funding and tough votes in a 2007 special session that made the funding possible. Some Democratic lawmakers have been particularly unhappy about Baltimore city school officials’ plans to bring more than 2,000 people to protest current funding proposals for schools.

Delegate John Bohanan, D-St. Mary’s, noted that Baltimore city spent $207 million on education in 2002, while the city is spending $206.3 million in the current fiscal year. That’s while the state has increased funding to the city by 92 percent over the same period, Bohanan said.

“I think that we all need to understand this is something that we’re all in together,” Bohanan said to a panel representing education interests during the hearing.

State budget analysts also recommended deeper cuts to a fund used to battle pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. O’Malley is proposing cutting the fund from $50 million to $25 million, and analysts are pushing to cut another $3 million. Analysts also are recommending that lawmakers cap the fund at $25 million in future years.

“We understand the need for cuts at this point, but to permanently cap it at $25 million, which would be a 50 percent cut, we feel would make it extremely difficult for us to keep the commitments to the bay,” said Kim Coble, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • kinghenry

    Republicans idea of changing OBama care is to make it “I don’t care”. They would have you dying in the streets & say tough…..Real nice for a nation that can’t take care of it’s own. Health care is a right not a privilege.

    • Jo Jo Johnson

      king henry – you are dead wrong – health care is a privilege, not a right – you & the rest of your entitlement thinking friends need to get over it – the middle class is sick & tired of supporting a bunch of deadbeats who refuse to work & use emergency rooms as their primary care providers. If you don’t like it, move to Europe or Canada or some place else that has “free” healthcare – those countries are in great shape, aren’t they?

      • oscar arvelo

        JOJO, You are either young or stupid. Take your pick or keep posting like you did & the world will make a decision for you. Every industrialized country in the Western Hemisphere has health care for it’s people paid in part by taxes or outright deductions such as a medicare type insurance. We are going to pay one way or the other, don’t you see it? Those too lazy, on welfare or poor will go to the emergency rooms & you will pay in the form of higher taxes. I could cite numerous cases where workers are now paying up to 50% of their premiums towards health care & they are rising. Some CEO’S get it free but we are all paying for it in goods & services. I’m on Medicare & have wonderful care at Hopkins & the doctors of my choice all for a little more than $100 a month. If the country were a single payer such as medicare, the Care First, Aetna’s United Health’s of the world would lower their premiums tomorrow or go out of business. Sonny boy, you need to understand this: The government Medicare is not run for profit, but the above mentioned health care companies are. A difference of several hundred dollars per month in premiums that you & your families are allowing well heeled executives to live the good life.

  • Herman Glimsher



    • oscar arvelo

      Herman, I’ve seen your posts on other sites & man all I can say is God help you, You are most definitely mentally challenged in your logic. Are you from W.Virginia Tenn or Kentucky? Sure sounds like it.

  • kInghenry

    OBama doesn’t force anyone to buy insurance. The Congress & the Senate do. Insurance works because it is a shared & spread among all the people. You’re paying now when people who can afford to have insurance don’t, get sick or have an accident & go to the hospital. We pay the bill via Medicaid. Wake up, you drive a car, you must have minimum insurance. It should have been Medicare for all but the large insurance companies would have none of that. They would & should be put out of business for constantly raising rates . My medicare cost $118 a month. A bargain. No reason why a private plan my wife is on is costing $500 & it has a $2500 deductible…..All B.S.

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