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O'Malley Delays $56 Million in Cuts to Local Aid

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said this afternoon that he is delaying a proposal to reduce aid to local governments by $56 million until the fate of federal stimulus package becomes clearer.

The largest of the contemplated mid-year reductions, $38 million, is to an initiative that provides additional funding to counties, including Montgomery and Prince George's, where the cost of providing education is higher.

O'Malley (D) had planned to propose that cut Wednesday to the Board of Public Works, a three-member panel authorized to reduce the state budget. He also planned to propose a $10.1 million cut to local health programs and an $8.2 million reduction to community colleges. All of three of the cuts would affect the current fiscal year, which ends in June.

During an afternoon news conference, O'Malley said the cuts may not be necessary depending on the outcome of the stimulus bill pending in Congress. O'Malley's administration estimates Maryland could receive as much as $3.9 billion from the legislation for operating and capital costs over 27 months.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed," O'Malley said.

A budget proposed last week by O'Malley for next fiscal year seeks to close a $2 billion shortfall through a wide range of cuts, including some similar to those deferred today. That budget could also be helped considerably by the federal stimulus package, O'Malley said.

By John Wagner  |  January 27, 2009; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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