How much bad news is O'Malley's budget hiding?
As the hours pass, the details contained in Gov. Martin O'Malley's latest budget are being ferreted out. They're not pretty.
Reaction to the governor's spending plan was fairly muted when it was unveiled on Wednesday. The governor filled a $2 billion revenue shortfall with a mix of spending cuts and transfers. Many interests groups and local government said they were resigned to sharing the pain. The most critical voices came from Republican lawmakers, who said spending was still too high.
But to coin a phrase, the devil is in the details. Today's Sun reports how local school districts will take a hit. Baltimore schools would receive $23 million less than a year earlier, a reduction that the city schools superintendent calls an "effective roll-back" of the vaunted and cherished schools funding initiative commonly known as the Thorton plan.
One of the largest staffing cut areas come from public safety and corrections. Now it turns out that to decrease staffing and overtime costs, the O'Malley administration wants corrections officers to work 12 hour shifts, up from 8 hours. The change is sparking an outcry among Western Maryland lawmakers, whose districts include many of the state's prisons.Republican delegates LeRoy Myers and Christopher Shank told the Hagerstown Herald-Mail that longer shifts for guards could make the prisons less safe.
Stay tuned for more details about what the budget contains. And if you've heard of any yourself that haven't received a full airing yet, let us know.