ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Governor Hogan has decided not to release $245 million to fund programs approved by legislators during the 2019 General Assembly.
During a meeting at Board of Public Works on Wednesday, Hogan said he wants to identify ways to prevent overspending and look at funding options with the help of the Department of Budget and Management. He believes the programs should be funded by savings within the existing budget.
“The legislature continues to spend recklessly, and has jeopardized funding for a number of worthwhile programs it cut from our budget to pay for its own wish list,” Governor Hogan said. “Despite the fiscal challenges that the legislature’s out-of-control spending have caused us, we cannot allow critical public safety and health needs to go unmet. Our administration will work within the existing budget to fund these critical public safety and health programs.”
Hogan is approaching this plan in an effort to eliminate extra “fenced-off” spending by the General Assembly. And some state officials do not agree with his decision.
According to officials with Maryland Democratic Party Chair, the programs include summer jobs for youth, rape kit testing, school construction, and operating funds for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Dr. Maya Rockeymore Cummings responded to Hogan's announcement:
“From stopping the Red Line and stalling State Center to equivocating over Pimlico and treating city schools as the adversary, Governor Hogan has taken a punitive posture towards the state’s largest city since the beginning of his first term in office. In this context, his failure to release school construction and orchestra funds is not a surprise. In order to stabilize and grow, Baltimore City needs a partner in the Governor’s seat and, for whatever reason, Larry Hogan has proven that he is unable or unwilling to serve in that role. His re-election was a mistake the City and State will feel for a very long time.”
House Speaker Adrienne Jones released a statement on the governor's funding announcement:
“Governor Hogan continues to talk about fiscal responsibility out of both sides of his mouth: two weeks ago, he is the steward of a balanced budget but today the legislative priorities of aren’t worthy enough. These aren’t Democratic priorities – these are the people’s priorities: voted on by Democratic and Republican legislators. “Reckless” is NOT testing rape kits to find rapists. “Playing games” is when you pretend to care about school conditions but then don’t put the money up for new school construction. The House will continue to pass balanced budgets – as we have for my entire 22 year tenure in the legislature – each and every year.”
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. shared his statement on Hogan's budget decisions:
I am extremely disappointed that the Governor is not choosing to fund many worthy projects, including some that were originally in his proposed budget, and some that were added based off testimony from many Marylanders to the Legislature. Based on my conversation with the Governor, I was under the impression that he intended to review the list closely and deserving projects would proceed with funding. The bipartisan budget passed by the Legislature was balanced, and did not alter the structural deficit any differently than in the Governors originally proposed budget.
While the Governor has made his announcement today, he is certainly allowed to change his mind especially after our excellent conversation at the summer meeting of the Maryland Municipal League. I urge him to do so and decide that priorities including school construction, rape kit testing, youth jobs, funds to our HBCUs, and other projects are worth funding.