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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.

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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