Governor & General Assembly Remain At Odds Over FY 2020 Restricted Funding

Daily Record article (2019-06-17) reported on the ongoing budget impasse between Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and the General Assembly. The General Assembly has fenced off roughly $240 million in the FY 2020 budget that can only be spent on certain projects or if specified conditions are met. Hogan has not yet decided whether to accept the conditions and release the funds. As previously reported on Conduit Street, $8.5 million in local Program Open Space funding is part of the disputed funding.

Also included in the restricted funding is $127 million for school construction, $4 million for testing rape kits, and $3 million in aid for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO).

The Daily Record article offered perspectives from both General Assembly leadership and the Hogan Administration:

“I know the governor bristles when we [restrict funds], but it’s really the only way for us to set aside some money for the things the legislature thinks are important,” said state Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery and chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. …

“The legislature has to have some input,” King said.

According to a Hogan representative from the article, the governor is still reviewing the fenced-off funding. Fiscal Year 2020 begins on July 1. From the article:

“It is unfortunate that the legislature pitted one project against another, particularly with our state facing a $961 million budget deficit,” [Hogan spokesman Michael] Ricci said. …

“The legislature does not collaborate with, inform, notify, or send carrier pigeon, to alert us to their intent to fence off these dollars,” said Ricci. “We see the full list when you do, and the governor then has to review all of the decisions.”

The article explained that in Maryland the governor can put items into the operating budget while the General Assembly can only cut or restrict how funds are spent.

The article also described a previous standoff between the General Assembly and Hogan and provided some additional details about the recent troubles of the BSO.