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Leaders Prepare For Action As Hard-Hit Maryland Deals With Budget Cuts

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sequestration, budget cuts
Hellgren Mike 370x278 (2) Mike Hellgren
WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— The government spending cuts kicked in three days ago and we’re still no closer to a deal. Congress returns to work this week with no plans to reverse the $85 billion in cuts. The Obama administration is hoping that as Americans start to see and feel the effects of the cuts, it will help Republicans and Democrats come to an agreement. But it’s the same old debate: Democrats want a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts; Republicans say they will not agree to any tax increase.

Mike Hellgren has details on how the budget cuts will impact people in Maryland.

Maryland’s schools, health care system and military bases all will take big hits from mandatory federal spending cuts now in effect.

“Compromise has become a dirty word and that’s the worst thing I’ve heard yet,” said Rev. Rich Warden.

“I am a small business employee. I’m a mother to a son who’s in first grade,” said Shari King. “Mu husband is also a government civilian–possible furloughs. You know, I think there’s a fear with everybody. It’s across the board.”

Many came to hear Senator Ben Cardin as he addressed business leaders.

“I think they want us to work together. They’re frustrated we can’t get things done,” Cardin said.

Cardin tells WJZ he’s confident a new appropriations bill will give agencies–particularly the Department of Defense–some leeway in how they make the cuts. He expects that to pass this month but believes sequestration will not be overturned as quickly.

“This is a self-imposed problem. We need to resolve it,” Cardin said.

In Maryland alone, education cuts could total $14 million, environmental protection $3 million and $317,000 in police funds.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held an emergency meeting of her cabinet.

“We know that every cut won’t be immediate but if we don’t plan, we will not be able to prepare,” Rawlings-Blake said. “We don’t get to kick the can down the road and not figure out how to do work together. The stakes are too high.”

To read the email University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh sent to the school community addressing the effects of the automatic federal budget cuts, click here.

Maryland’s Board of Revenue Estimates is projecting sequestration could cost 12,000 jobs in Maryland.

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