Governor Martin O’Malley today outlined over $450 million in budget cuts including reductions to local aid which will cost Harford County $9.6 million. The Governor’s plan also includes furloughs and salary reductions for state employees, but does not cut funding to public schools. O’Malley will bring his plan to the Board of Public Works for approval tomorrow.
Here’s the breakdown of the proposed cuts to local aid:
And here is the Governor’s press release:
GOVERNOR OUTLINES $454 MILLION IN BUDGET CUTS
Governor renews commitment to protecting public schools, Maryland families
ANNAPOLIS, MD (August 25, 2009) – Governor Martin O’Malley outlined more than $450 million in budget reductions that will be presented to Maryland’s Board of Public Works tomorrow. These actions are the second step in addressing a projected budget shortfall of more than $700 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and bring the total amount of reduced spending and budget cuts under the O’Malley-Brown Administration to over $4.3 billion.
“These are not easy decisions. Just as families, businesses, and individuals across Maryland struggle to find ways to tighten their belts, our state government must do more with less,” said Governor O’Malley. “Our citizens expect and deserve a government that works, and in spite of the most severe recession in a generation we’ve been working to reform our State government to make more efficient and effective.”
Governor O’Malley, joined earlier today by Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Secretary of Budget and Management Eloise Foster, made public the details of a plan to reduce the budget by more than $450 million. These budget actions focus on over $210 million in reductions to local aid a furlough and salary reduction plan for state employees, and reductions to state agencies, protecting entirely investments made in Maryland public schools. General fund support for public education has increased nearly $700 million since FY07, while spending for the remainder of the Operating Budget has decreased more than $1 billion.
Budget reductions to be presented to the Board of Public Works include $17 million in savings from the elimination of over 360 state positions, including 205 filled positions. The furlough and salary reduction plan, estimated to save approximately $75 million, prevents the layoff of about 1,500 additional state employees.
In July, over $280 million in budget actions were unanimously approved by the Board of Public Works. These cuts represent the first incidence in at least thirty years that state spending will be less than it was three years ago.
Despite historically challenging economic times, Maryland remains poised to come through this national recession more quickly than other states. Maryland is home to one of America’s most highly skilled workforces, holds an unemployment rate consistently 20 percent below the national average, and is one of only seven states to defend a highly coveted Triple A bond rating.
Harford County’s Director of Administration Lorraine Costello tells The Dagger that the impact of a $9.6 million state cut to local aid is still being determined and even the decision-makers will vary depending upon the area affected. With the caveat that it is early in the process and no final decisions have been made, here’s the latest on the outlook provided by Ms. Costello:
The biggest dollar hit from the state was a $7. 2 million cut to Highway User Revenue. Of this figure, $1.4 million is combined aid to the towns of Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace and each town government will determine how to handle their respective cuts. The $ 5.7 million remainder is the county portion and County Executive David Craig is looking at options which may affect capital projects and operating expenses. Looks like no layoffs or additional furloughs at this time, possibly subject to change later this fall.
A cut of approximately $962,000 to Police Aid is also divided between the county and the towns, with the county losing $688,000 of that amount. The county executive is considering options for the county portion.
Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly is currently analyzing how to handle a $936,000 cut to her department. A Tuesday meeting is scheduled to discuss options.
Word from Harford Community College is that their $528,000 cut may be absorbed by attrition and turnover – no mention of a tuition increase at this point from John Cox, Vice President for Finance, Operations, & Government Relations
Director of Administration Costello said that some of the cuts under the purview of the county executive could be offset with a transfer of fund balance. Such a transfer would require approval by the Harford County Council.