ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Bracing for bad news. The Maryland General Assembly will be sworn in Wednesday and already the focus is on possible budget cuts.
Political reporter Pat Warren has more on what to expect.
Governor-elect Larry Hogan won’t say what stays and what goes; he’s not governor yet. But there are a lot of folks out there preparing to defend their interests in the event of cuts.
The General Assembly opens Wednesday and the governor-elect will be there, shaking hands before the bell rings.
“I’ll be in the rotunda in the morning prior to the session greeting people and welcoming them to Annapolis and letting them know I’m looking forward to working with them in a week from now,” Hogan said.
And come out swinging two days later when the budget hits the floor.
“Already higher education is saying I need some money restored but the new governor, Governor-elect Hogan, has got to worry about next year, which starts July 1,” said Senate President Mike Miller.
The budget year starts July 1 with a $750 million deficit.
“We’ve got this huge shortfall and 81% of all the money we spend is mandated,” Hogan said.
Just where will the cuts come? Transportation, education and health are some likely targets.
“We have serious problems that face us but our resolve is to fix these problems is strong and that the only way we’re going to be able to put Maryland on a better path is if we sit down together and work in a bipartisan fashion. That’s the way we’re going to govern,” Hogan said.
Miller says that’s doable, pointing to the people on Hogan’s budget team.
“These are people we know, we’re comfortable with. They’re going to be working with him; they’re going to be working for us at the same time,” he said.
That’s not to say they won’t butt heads. Some question whether the dire budget projections are overblown.
“Our budget secretary says it’s the worst he’s seen in his lifetime and it may take us eight to 10 years to get out of this mess,” Hogan said.
Hogan was referring to his budget advisor; a secretary hasn’t been named yet.
The budget is expected to dominate this session.
Another news conference on the governor-elect’s cabinet is planned for Thursday.
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