Lawmakers Urge Budget Help for Nonprofits That Stepped in During Shutdown

    A bipartisan group of 54 Maryland lawmakers want the state to send some money back to the nonprofits that supported unpaid federal workers and contractors during the partial government shutdown that ended last week.

    “Many Maryland nonprofits stepped in to support individuals and families in need over the course of 35 days, and we want to be sure those organizations have the necessary resources for the remainder of the year to continue providing their critical services,” said Montgomery County Del. Jared Solomon (D), who coordinated a letter sent to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) on Thursday, requesting financial assistance for nonprofits that were strained during the shutdown.

    The letter was signed by 10 senators and 44 members of the House of Delegates. A majority, 52, were Democrats, joined by Republican Dels. Trent Kittleman (Howard, Carroll) and Michael Malone (Anne Arundel).

    The 35-day shutdown sent hundreds of thousands of Maryland families scrambling to pay bills, but programs such as the Maryland Food Bank, End Hunger in Calvert County, Anne Arundel Food Bank, Manna Food Center, A Wider Circle and United Way waived income requirements to provide support for those in need.

    “Fortunately, in our state we have a generous and robust network of nonprofit organizations that have stepped in to try and fill the gap, helping our friends and neighbors in their time of need,” the lawmakers wrote.

    Now, some of the nonprofits are struggling to make their own ends meet after the unexpected surge in need. Some organizations have tapped into reserves or lines of credit while they wait for anticipated federal grant or contract payments from shutdown-affected agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the lawmakers said.

    While lauding the efforts of the governor’s #MDHelps campaign that was launched in the waning hours of the shutdown, the lawmakers ask Hogan to step in again and provide additional funding or support for nonprofits that incurred shutdown-related expenses.

    Hogan’s office did not immediately respond to receiving the letter.

    Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) estimated that Marylanders missed $778 million in wage payments every pay period during the shutdown. Federal employees have been guaranteed backpay, but contract workers may never recover wages lost during the shutdown.

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.