The Board of Public Works (BPW) next week will consider $672 million in state budget cuts to account for increased spending and reduced revenues amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Funding for state agencies, entitlement programs, and local aid — including transportation, local health grants, community colleges, libraries, disparity grants, and public safety — could be on the chopping block as part of the Department of Budget and Management’s effort to offset COVID-19-related economic woes.
But the proposed cuts — shaped by a projected revenue shortfall of up to $2.6 billion for the coming fiscal year from an economy badly battered by the coronavirus pandemic — could be a precursor to more severe reductions when the General Assembly reconvenes in Annapolis.
Under the provisions of §7-213(a), State Finance and Procurement Article, the Governor, with the approval of the BPW, may reduce, by not more than 25%, any appropriation the Governor considers unnecessary. The BPW may not reduce appropriations for the payment of the principal and interest on state debt, public schools mandated funding (including the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind), or the salary of a public officer during the term of office.
The BPW will consider the proposed cuts in a virtual meeting on Wednesday, July 1. The three-member panel, which includes Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have an effect on county governments.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.