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Budget Fight May Lead To Less Funding For Education, Police Departments

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Millions of dollars are on the chopping block. Critical funding for Maryland’s public schools and police departments is at risk if the state can’t work through its budget mess.

Political reporter Pat Warren takes a closer look at the possible cuts and who could feel the pain.

The 2013 budget was on Governor Martin O’Malley’s list of things to do.

“We failed to do those things,” O’Malley said.

About $243 million budgeted for public education –including $33 million for Baltimore alone — failed.

“We also failed our law enforcement officers on the front lines of reducing violent crime and saving lives,” O’Malley said.

About $20 million in police aid and other grants failed.

“So, sadly, the operating budget was pretty much the low point in my experience here,” said O’Malley.

Funding budgeted for higher education, state agency operations, jobs and pay raises — a combined $250 million — failed.

“Which is really a damn shame,” said O’Malley.

“It’s of great concern to me,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

It’s a concern shared by county executives statewide.

“It puts us at risk of moving in the wrong direction,” said Rawlings-Blake.

“Unfortunately, we’re taking a step back,” said O’Malley.

The Senate President says otherwise.

“We didn’t fail anybody. We didn’t take a step back,” said Senate President Mike Miller.

Miller expects a special session to avoid the cuts.

“It’s up to the governor. I mean, honestly and truly we’re working with the governor. He’s not a happy camper, but he’ll get over it,” said Miller.

O’Malley hasn’t mentioned if or when he will call a special session. A special session would have to be held before the new budget takes effect on July 1.

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