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State Passes 'Doomsday' Budget, Massive School Cuts

After General Assembly's failure to vote on key budget measures after a 90-day session, Gov. Martin O'Malley could call a special session to avert deep cuts.

The Maryland General Assembly ended its session Monday at midnight without taking action on proposed revenue measures and passing a budget that will require $512 million in cuts beginning July 1.

The rancorous end to the session left Gov. Martin O'Malley and House Speaker Mike Busch fuming with their fellow Democrat, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. 

The Washington Post called the end of the Democratically-controlled General Assembly's 90-day session at midnight on Monday a “stunning collapse.”

The Baltimore Sun said the session ended in “disarray.”

Maryland Reporter's Len Lazarick wrote:  

“O’Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch both blamed Senate President Mike Miller’s insistence on a gaming measure for Prince George’s County for holding up action. But others, including delegates and senators on the conference committee, said the hard philosophical positions on both sides played a role.”

Many lawmakers said O'Malley would likely call a special session to tackle the tax measures that were mostly not voted on before the $35.6 billion balanced budget was passed as required by law. But as the Maryland Reporter video shows, a visibly angry O'Malley made no such announcement early Tuesday morning. 

According to The Washington Post, “Without passing any further instructions on spending or revenue, the state would be required to make more than $512 million in funding reductions to schools and state programs beginning July 1.” It would be the “first time in two decades” that the state's lawmakers ended the 90-day session with work remaining on the budget, the paper reported.

In Baltimore County, as Patch's , the abrupt end of the session killed the hopes of many that a partially-elected school board bill was going to receive a vote. 

The Washington Post reported that the budget passed Monday “would cut 10 percent, or more than $60 million from higher education, likely necessitating higher tuition increases at state universities and local community colleges.”

“Funding for grade school students,” The Post reported, “would also be reduced by $111 per pupil. And grants to the state’s largest school districts would be cut entirely, accounting for nearly $129 million.”

Stay with Patch for more details.

William Lutostanski Jr April 11, 2012 at 12:15 AM
What is doomsday about spending 500 million more than last year ? Seems to me we should have spent 500 million less than last year.
Other Tim April 11, 2012 at 12:17 AM
EBT cards are now accepted at some major fast food restaurants.
Reader April 11, 2012 at 01:54 AM
No special session, no new tax increase, stay with the same budget as last year. That would mean that spending would be the same for next year as this year. Doomsday budget my aunt Rosy. Just not an increase in spending for the first time since MOM has been elected. Believe it or not we all would not die if this occurred and the sun would come up tomorrow. P.S. Can you believe the utter arrogance of that bunch down in Annapolis!!!!!!!!!
Michael Smith April 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM
If we remove Mr. Miller and Mr. Bush and reduce the salary of the governor and reduce his staff that would be a start. Reducing the state work force by 500 positions, that could probably be done through attrition - but wait - do not state employees have a sweet pension plan which would still reduce the amount available for the cut.
Michael Smith April 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM
FYI, This should be O'Malley's last term as governor due to the two term limit, unless he creates an executive order that allows him to continue on as governor beyond the term limit, or declares himself King ........
Tony Aquia April 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM
You have no right to free speech on a privately owned forum. Your right lies with the government not a private entity. If your post disagrees with the forum owner's position, then the owner has the right to censor it's own forum. Sorry.
Andy Eisner April 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Steve you are 100% correct!!!!!!
kevin April 11, 2012 at 01:15 PM
O'Malley should have worried about the state business first then gay marriage .Miller and Busch are both quoted they already knew this was going to referendum when it was passed even encouraged some people just get it over with after what three weeks? We've been played O'Malley used it for face time on the social GIANT Al Sharpton show ,What did he accomplish for Maryland ?They could have done the job they were sent to do THEN pass the gay Marriage bill.I believe Marylander s should ask that all legislators pay us back whatever they got this session THEY DIDN'T DO THE JOB! NO SPECIAL SESSION UNLESS YOU ALL AGREE TO DO IT FOR FREE YOU OWE US !
CB9678 April 11, 2012 at 01:26 PM
It actually is their money because Harford County BOE Self Insures it's employees! The premium holiday is a reimbursement of the unspent part of the premiums they paid. The BOE kept the "taxpayer" paid portion in reserve which the individual paid a state pick-up tax on.
CB9678 April 11, 2012 at 01:30 PM
@ Karl A couple of items not all teachers use insurance. Second our county self insures. This means that essentially the insurance claims are paid by the pool of money collected from employees etc and than if there is an overage there is a policy that covers the county. If there is an underage there is a return. Since part of that money was contributed by the employee in the first place and it went unused than it would make sense to return it to those employees in the form of an insurance premium holiday. Taxpayers do not fund 100% of the benefits!!! Also remember the employee paid taxes on the part the county did pick-up. It is called the state pick-up.
AnnKangarouse April 11, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I've often seen how some folks are blocked from commenting, though it's referred to as a "glitch" Just sayin...
AnnKangarouse April 11, 2012 at 01:39 PM
The sad thing is... most of us aren't voting the same folks in. Those running for office who are backed by (for example) developers with a lot of cash get the votes, as well as coverage from local media too. It's extremely demoralizing. :-(
Step April 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I have an idea, why don't we cut the staff for all those politicians, freeze their salaries, and reduce the operating budgets, and stop spending lots of money for their leather chairs! Make them pay for parking like the rest of us, no overtime pay, and reduce all the other perks. Cuts should always start at the top!
Don Rowand April 11, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I believe no new session is required and as a maryland tax payer I would like to thank the general assembly for finally taking a step in the right direction. As far as our govenor Hey Martin it's my money and the cost of living in this state is so high I can't afford to give you anymore so get over it
kfanyo April 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
There are always certain advantages to politicos in having a population who can find their way to the voting booth but who can't find their way through budget math.
CB9678 April 20, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Why does it seem some commenters recieve instant approval and other wait for about 10 days for their comment to be approved? Not being a smart alec just a question?
Other Tim April 20, 2012 at 01:02 AM
The so-called "Doomsday Budget" cuts of $500,000,000 amount to only a 1.4% reduction to the total budget of over 35.6 BILLION dollars. If these budget experts cannot find ways to cut 1.4%, perhaps they are in the wrong business. Vote them out! Who says most of the cuts must come from the schools? Sounds like scare tactics to me.
Adam Bednar (Editor) April 20, 2012 at 01:45 AM
@CB9678 we've switched over to a new moderation queue. There are still some kinks we're working out. Sorry about the inconvenience.
CB9678 April 20, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Buck to answer your question about public schools.... .it is Constitutionally mandated in our state
Buzz Beeler April 20, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Adam, check out this kink while your at it. You no longer receive emails on what's going on regarding the topic. That has got to effect the hits on the site.
Phil Dirt April 20, 2012 at 06:41 AM
Let's stop calling this a 'Doomsday Budget' and instead call it 'a first step in the right direction'.
Buck Harmon April 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Thanks Adam, In addition to to Pending Approval mess, when I receive notification that a new post was made it just says..." no reply new comment", instead of identifying which blog had the comment posted. If you are following several blogs, when checking mail there are 25~30 no reply new comment emails . It really sucks.
Buck Harmon April 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM
You have the ability to turn off the Pending Approval...Kym Burns at Westminster Patch told me that....turn it off.,,,socialist term.
Karl Schuub April 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM
But taxpayers paid most of it - maybe not all, but certainly most.
Paul W. Ross April 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain
Karl Schuub April 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Turns out this "doomsday budget" is actually an increase, just not enough to cover usual out of control projected increases - lest anyone forget the way government calculates a cut isn't really a cut at all. Can't imagine how in the world we could ever expect government to plan, cut or ration responsibly. Oh the humanity...
JM April 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Buck raises an interesting point. If we home-school our kids or remove them to private school, then the parents STILL have to pay for the public school system via taxes, in effect paying twice for their childrens' education. Meanwhile, enrollment in the public school goes down, which means that funding to the school also goes down, which means still fewer resources for the students who remain and for the building, whose operational costs (e.g. utilities, maintenance) will remain nearly identical. The tax money that didn't go to the school, meanwhile, goes into the General Fund for the state/county/city as appropriate, and it gets blown on something else. I'm not sure who truly benefits from this plan, but OK.
CB9678 April 20, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Yes they paid about 80 percent and got to keep 80 percent of the 5 million returned by the overage the premium holiday was the other 20 percent
Bill Lawson April 20, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I'm having trouble understanding why the State is having such difficulties funding education. Are we not receiving plenty of NEW revenue from our recently opened Casino? Wasn’t that why we allowed it to be built? According to this article: http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2012/04/05/maryland-casino-revenue-up-8-to.html. The state receives almost 8 million dollars each month from our casinos. So if there's 8 million EXTRA dollars each month that's supposed to go to education, why is there a shortfall? My guess is that gaming winnings go to the schools, but the money that formerly went to the schools, now goes somewhere else. Clearly a bait and switch is going on here. I'm surprised that a young aggressive news reporter, eager to make a name for himself/herself, doesn't crack this story and expose these dirty details.
CB9678 April 20, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Remember the education funding being cut is the rollback of Thornton. There has been a noticeable increase in performance since Thornton was implemented and fully funded

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