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Md. Lawmakers Get Taste of Tough Budget Choices

Rosalind Helderman

The Democratic Caucus of the House of Delegates met this morning for a 90-minute briefing on the state of the state budget, in preparation for the start of the legislative session tomorrow.

It was apparently not a rosy picture presented at the closed door meeting. "Doom and gloom," declared Del. Joanne C. Benson (D-Prince George's), emerging from the meeting.

"Dire," said Del. Marvin E. Holmes Jr. (D-Prince George's), noting that all "sacred cows" seem to be on the table for possible cuts.

What kind of sacred cows? According to documents distributed to lawmakers there are "hard decisions ahead."

The handout outlines a series of areas lawmakers might look to for cuts as they close a projected $1.9 billion shortfall in the state budget. They include changing formulas for state aide distribution to localties for the teacher pension funds. They also include restructing employee benefits, revisiting recent "costly initiatives" like health care expansion and the three-year freeze in tuition at state universities, tapping the state's rainy day fund or diverting capital funds for projects like the ICC or the state's medical evacuation helicopter fleet into the general fund and using them for operating cash.


By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 13, 2009; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Comments

It is quite apparent that the economic stimulus plan of last year, which included big increases in sales, income, car and corporate taxes didn't stimulate anything except the deficit. If Obama had run on the Maryland tax increase platform he wouldn't have won. Why not cut the state sales tax 3 cents to stimulate the Maryland economy and lead the Nation!

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | January 13, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The only solution is to VOTE ALL MD LEGISLATORS THAT VOTED FOR THE TAX INCREASE OUT!

Posted by: overlytaxedinmd | January 13, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I am sure their meeting will result in some kind of further tax increase

Posted by: keirreva | January 13, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Whoa...am I actually hearing Robin Ficker misrepresenting last years' tax increases as a "stimulus plan"? I must be dreaming! The tax increase never were meant to do anything but keep Maryland out of an even larger dbt than its in now.

Where did anyone see these tax increases pushed as a stimulus plan? Abxolutely no one saw those hikes as a positive...they were only Marylanders being handed an accurate bill to pay for services. Let's get down to brass tacks and deal with some reality.

True, its Repubs turn in the doghouse...but the whole nation is in debt. I prefer we pay ours down rather than building more debt on top of it. For those of us who are parents and grandparents, we do NOT want to increase the debt burden on our children and grandchildren. We also do not want to raise them in a land where education, law enforcement, and services are neglected ... so we can claim our taxes are lower than Virginia's.

If we wanted lower taxes and fewer services, we'd have chosen to live in Virginia. There is a reason that Maryland has the county's BEST public schools. Let's not begin to unravel what has been achieved. Thx

Posted by: free-donny | January 13, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

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