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December 17, 2009

Lawmakers to O'Malley: Zero increase to state budget

Lawmakers told Gov. Martin O'Malley that he shouldn't increase spending next year by one penny. The Spending Affordability Committee, a bipartisan panel, held a late-night session to recommend a flat state budget. That includes the funding that the General Assembly controls, excluding federal funds.

The panel's recommendations are not binding, but their decision sends a strong signal to the governor. A budget from O'Malley won't be unveiled until next month, and officials already have said it would follow the panel's guidance. Republicans, however, think the committee should have recommended a far more austere budget plan. Their proposal failed on a party-line vote.

Meanwhile, is more federal help on the way? Congress has yet to decide. For our coverage of that and the budget, read below:

Md. urges more U.S. aid
Revenue projections falling more slowly as economy turns

Even as the fiscal picture in Maryland brightens, Gov. Martin O'Malley called on the federal government Wednesday to provide more help to states that are laboring to keep their budgets balanced.

The governor's plea came as state analysts announced that Maryland's revenue projections have fallen $77 million more for the current fiscal year and the next. While that means O'Malley will have less money for next year's budget, which he will present to the General Assembly in January, the decline was far less precipitous than previous Maryland revenue adjustments during the recession.

State officials said the projections from the Board of Revenue Estimates indicate that an economic turnaround is under way. "Maryland's revenues appear to be stable, and it looks as if we are at least beginning down the road to recovery," said state Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster.

Nonetheless, O'Malley warned that as the state confronts a projected $2 billion budget shortfall next year, it could "add to the unemployment woes" if the federal government does not provide more stimulus money. His remarks come as Congress debates measures that would extend Medicaid funds to states straining under the rising cost of the health care program for the poor.

"We really need additional help from Washington," O'Malley, a Democrat, told reporters in Annapolis.

For the full story, click here.

Posted by Laura Smitherman at 8:15 PM | | Comments (10)
        

Comments

Not increasing the budget when revenues are falling is obvious to any normal person, but we are not talking about a group of normal people, we are talking about career tax and spend politicians. Our saving grace in this mess is that 2010 is an election year and raising taxes AGAIN to fund increased spending in recession would be considered political suicide an election year even in Maryland.

It maybe true becuase it election year but I would bet as soon as they get re-elected again. It go back to the tax and spend frenzy as always.

Let hope we voters will hold the leaders accountable for their action in November.

Why not increase spending? If the Dem Feds can increase spending 12% why not the state? It only money after all and has little value any longer.

Increase state spending 10% to fund all your little programs to help you get re-elected in Nov. What the hell?

No making you chickenhawks happy is there?

@MDP,
Good Post, understanding the 'reality' of politics is clear, if only 'real' ppl, understood that the 'career' politicians that your are referring to will in fact "Ambush" the citizens of the state if we allow them to return in 2011...
They are out to save their political hides, nothing more.
As for @Travers comment...You must be "Foghorn Leghorn", a cartoon willing to settle for the comedy that is the Maryland Legislature.

Interesting and informative. But will you write about this one more?

The funding at 0% is actually not helping at all because the stimulus dollars are included in that 0% meaning next year we have to make up this year's gap (roughly $1 billion) + the $1 billion surplus, hence the $2 billion deficit. Negative 5-10% growth would put us on path to solve about 60% of the future deficits.

All they have done with this decision is kick the can down the road. Watch O'Malley claim 0% growth by using last year's baseline number instead of this year's modified baseline.

Sadly, the Maryland Public will have no idea and continue to think O'Malley has actually made reductions. And has anyone seen the spending as a percentage of personal income growth? The state has set records for spending in proportion to income growth (or income loss in the case of 08) and its pathetic on the federal spend-a-thon level.

Valuable thoughts and advices. I read your topic with great interest.

Don't you people get enough preks for taking OUR money without raising your slaries and denying the REAL WORKERS a raise via tax reduction.

Don't you people get enough preks for taking OUR money without raising your slaries and denying the REAL WORKERS a raise via tax reduction.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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