Budget Briefing: O'Malley Plans Another $470 Million in Cuts
A panel from Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration provided some of the more interesting morsels to emerge from this afternoon's legislative budget briefing, which just ended. Among them:
* O'Malley (D) is preparing to propose about $470 million in additional cuts in this year's fiscal year budget to the Board of Public Works on Aug. 26, Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster told lawmakers. She reiterated that cuts will include additional reductions to state agencies, changes in employee compensation and cuts to local governments.
* Negotiations with employee unions are still continuing about furlough days this year. Matt Gallagher, O'Malley's deputy chief of staff, said the same principles would guide furlough decisions as those behind a previous round last year. Those include an effort to "insulate" lower-paid employees and make unpaid leave "progressive" in nature, i.e. the higher your salary, the more furlough days you get.
* Aware that additional shortfalls are on the horizon, state agencies have been asked to identify "low-priority programs" that could be eliminated, Foster said. She provided no examples. Foster said O'Malley is not contemplating wholesale layoffs but said state workers could lose their jobs as part of "streamlining" efforts.
* Joe Bryce, O'Malley's chief legislative officer, provided a one-word answer when asked if tax increases will be part of the mix: "No."
At the briefing, Warren Deschenaux, the legislature's chief budget analyst, also warned that the revenue picture could get worse in mid-September when estimates of tax collections are revised. Deschenaux also cautioned that state revenue may not rebound rapidly once the economy starts improving.
"I don't know that we're going to be rapidly climbing out of our present predicament," he said.
August 11, 2009; 3:47 PM ET
Categories: John Wagner , Maryland State Budget
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