Maryland Department of Budget and Management Secretary David Brinkley told reporters Thursday morning that the State will seek $86.1 million in budget actions at the Board of Public Works (BPW) meeting on September 6 – and that State departments are asked to reduce spending by a total of $67.2 million.
The cuts include level funding disparity grants at the fiscal 2017 level, resulting in cuts to Prince George’s ($4,245,462), Baltimore City ($946,445), Wicomico ($587,801), Cecil ($196,240), and Washington ($52,938). The Summary of Proposed September 6, 2017 BPW Reductions reports a proposed cut of $6,028,885 to disparity grants, instead funding them at fiscal 2017 levels. The above-mentioned counties were to receive an increase in their disparity grant aid in fiscal 2018 per the statutory formula, but the General Assembly required those counties to provide those funds to their school systems above the required maintenance of effort (MOE) funding in fiscal 2018.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Del. Maggie McIntosh, House Appropriations Committee Chair, and Department of Legislative Services Executive Director Warren Deschenaux weighed in on the proposed cuts:
McIntosh said she was troubled by the cuts to the disparity grants. She noted that the legislature directed local governments to use this year’s disparity grants on education.
Deschenaux said that money should already have been included in local school systems’ budgets. He said it is unclear whether affected jurisdictions could reclaim those funds from the school systems or would have to absorb the cuts.
Other cuts include $8 million from the University System of Maryland, with similar proportional reductions at Morgan State University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and Baltimore City Community College; and $2.1 million in aid to private, non-state colleges and universities under the Sellinger formula.
The Baltimore Sun also reports that Secretary Brinkley indicated that the cuts did not result from any shortfalls, but rather, that the State is “trying to get ahead of the curve” and protect against the State’s structural deficit. Local school districts, colleges, juvenile justice programs and vacant public safety positions will experience cuts.
The Daily Record reports on the political implications of the proposed cuts.