Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings discussed budget and communication issues with MACo’s Legislative Committee on February 18. Jennings noted that the primary focus of Governor Hogan was the budget, with school funding and transportation remaining “hot button issues.” While noting that advocates of programs were doing their jobs in trying to protect them, he argued that “we have to make cuts somewhere” in order to eliminate the State budget’s ongoing structural deficit. He also stated that the Governor could be getting ready to release a second supplemental budget but provided no details about the budget’s potential contents.
Jennings also spent time talking about the importance of communication between the Administration and the General Assembly, county and State officials, and the two political parties. Despite the negative response from Democrats to Governor Hogan’s recent “state of the state” speech, Jennings opined that there was open communication between the Governor’s office and the General Assembly leadership.
While praising the work of MACo staff, the Minority Leader also stressed that is was critical that legislators also hear directly from their county officials about issues that are important to the counties. Jennings promised to pass on a request from the counties to the Governor’s office asking them to also communicate with the counties.