Montgomery County Executive Proposes Budget Reductions Following Revenue Hit

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Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has proposed $50 million in budget reductions to the recently approved fiscal 2016 budget to offset lower than expected revenues and significant income tax refunds that will need to be paid as a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

As reported by the Washington Post,

Leggett’s plan calls for a cut of $24 million from county departments, $10 million from Montgomery County Public Schools, $5 million from Montgomery College and $1.5 million from the Montgomery National Capital Park and Planning Commission. It also slices $10 million in current tax money used for mostly bond-funded construction work.

The reductions would result in cancellation of some expanded library hours, along with cuts in new materials ($1.5 million); elimination of extra pay for workers who provide services to the developmentally disabled ($969,000); delays in providing all police officers with body cameras ($314,000) and 30 fewer subsidized housing units for homeless veterans and families with children ($650,000).

Proposed reductions will now go before the County Council for review and final action.

In a letter Wednesday to Council President George Leventhal (D-At Large), Leggett said the economies are necessary because the county’s portion of income tax revenue from the state was $21.4 million below estimates. Montgomery also faces tens of millions of dollars in reduced tax revenues over the next two years because of refunds mandated by the May 18 Supreme Court decision in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne.

He is likely to receive push back from the council, especially on the proposed $5 million reduction to Montgomery College, and cuts social safety net programs.

Leventhal said Wednesday evening that the council will carefully consider Leggett’s scenario but is likely to overhaul it significantly.

“We’ll change it substantially,” he said. “The council acknowledges that we need to adopt a savings plan and we will do that. We are not obligated to agree with everything the executive sends over and we won’t.”

Leggett said the council was free to disagree on the specifics of his proposal, but that it has to meet the $50 million mark in cuts.