Proposed Budget Cuts Added to Bd. of Public Works Agenda

    Maryland’s Board of Public Works will consider more than $120 million in current year budget cuts next week.

    The proposed cuts include unallocated funding in six state agencies and $97 million Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) had already not planned to spend this year — $62 million for legislative priorities and $35 million withheld pending an audit of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

    Hogan planned to use the $62 million restricted by the General Assembly to help balance the fiscal year 2021 budget. Nick Pepersack, a spokesman for the Department of Budget and Management, said the money was meant to pay for two capital projects within the University System of Maryland; the administration plans to complete the projects with different funding, Pepersack said.

    The $35 million withheld from the Washington, D.C., area Metro system could be released in future years, pending the agency’s complete response to a financial audit requested by Hogan last summer.

    Other proposed reductions include a $7.6 million reduction to the State Department of Education for public school safety grants that weren’t requested and $5 million to grant programs at the Department of Housing and Community Development. No funding for approved projects will be canceled and the state will consider additional funding in future budgets, according to board documents.

    No jobs will be cut as a result of the proposed reductions.

    Earlier this week, the Board of Revenue Estimates received updated projections that the state could lose as much as $1.1 billion in projected revenues before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Board of Public Works members Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D) expressed hope that the state will weather the economic downturn without layoffs, but that cuts to state budgets will be necessary.

    The cuts to be considered on Wednesday were posted Friday, a requirement of the Board of Public Works Transparency Act of 2016.

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines covered government and politics for Maryland Matters for two years before moving into an editing position. 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.