BALTIMORE (WMAR) — The coronavirus not only took a toll on the health of Americans, but the economy too.
"This unprecedented global pandemic has caused catastrophic damage to the American economy," said Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan said it's the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
"Not taking action is simply not one of our options.
Hogan said while Maryland is better off than the majority of other states, the State Board of Public Works has tough decisions to make to cute hundreds of millions of dollars and balance the fiscal year 2021 budget, which started Wednesday.
Today, the board adopted the first round of cuts put forth by the Department of Budget and Management. Among the biggest reductions: funding to higher education institutions, leveling community college funding to the FY2020 level and altering program delivery to youth.
"Juvenile services recognized in the last fiscal year the decrease in populations. They went through a shut down of two facilities and we are now able to harvest and recognize some of those savings moving forward," said David Brinkley, Secretary of Budget & Management.
"People may have to postpone or forgo a raise. Worth while programs will not be able to be funded or will get trimmed. Departments won't see increases but funding everything and cutting nothing is not an option," said Hogan.
It also includes reducing operating costs and positions in state offices.
Hogan said the alternative to these cuts would be laying off 6,000 state employees and that’s the last thing he wants to do.
"Do we cut spending or we do we cut people? I am going to fight to keep people in their jobs.
It was a grand total of $395 million dollars in reductions and they still have more to make.
Next month, they will consider $200 million more, which includes employee-related cuts deferred from Wednesday's vote.