ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said at the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday that he will not spend more than $245 million state lawmakers had set aside for a number of programs.
He said he believes the state needs to be more fiscally responsible.
“The legislature continues to spend recklessly, and has jeopardized funding for a number of worthwhile programs it cut from our budget to pay for its own wish list,” Governor Hogan said. “Despite the fiscal challenges that the legislature’s out-of-control spending have caused us, we cannot allow critical public safety and health needs to go unmet. Our administration will work within the existing budget to fund these critical public safety and health programs.”
Hogan said he will instead put that money toward balancing the budget and accounting for the legislature’s new mandated spending, including funding for critical public safety and health programs.
Part of that spending was for school construction, and he announced he will resubmit his school construction plan at the start of the 2020 legislative session.
He said the General Assembly failed to act on the administration’s plan to clear nearly all of the school construction backlog across the state.
Senate President Mike Miller Jr. expressed his disappointment with this decision Wednesday.
He said based on a conversation with the governor, he had been under the impression that he intended to review the list and that deserving projects would proceed with funding– including some that he alleged were originally in the governor’s proposed budget.
His statement said in part, “The bipartisan budget passed by the Legislature was balanced, and did not alter the structural deficit any differently than in the Governors originally proposed budget,”
“While the Governor has made his announcement today, he is certainly allowed to change his mind especially after our excellent conversation at the summer meeting of the Maryland Municipal League. I urge him to do so and decide that priorities including school construction, rape kit testing, youth jobs, funds to our HBCUs, and other projects are worth funding,” Miller added.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski reacted to the decision to reject money for school construction with frustration.
“I worked with Democrats and Republicans – including Governor Hogan – to find more money for school construction this year. I am frustrated and disappointed with his decision to reject money that would help our students and educators right now. In spite of this decision, I remain committed to working across party lines to get more funding to provide Baltimore County families with the safe and modern school facilities they deserve.”