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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 key 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, of Anne Arundel County, fuming with their fellow Democrat, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who represents parts of Prince George's County.

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 about the "doomsday" budget:  

"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."

Had the gaming measure passed, it would have asked voters in a referendum in Maryland to consider placing table games in all of the state's slots parlors, including the one in Anne Arundel County. 

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" such as Howard Community College and Carroll Community College.

"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. 

Ralphie April 10, 2012 at 09:40 AM
Bring on the cuts. People will realize that life goes on just fine without the government waste.
Richard Nordeck April 10, 2012 at 09:46 AM
Fiscal responsibility in Annapolis ... finally!
bb April 10, 2012 at 10:34 AM
It looks like they need to follow Colorado's example and legalize medical marijuana. Taxes from it balanced their budget!
JH April 10, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Taxes are already way too high in Maryland. Too much waste and fraud in Maryland Medicaid and other programs. And too many freeloaders and deadbeats that don't pay any state income taxes. Just say no to higher taxes.
Buck Harmon April 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Massive school cuts....great job...typical political deterioration...
Buck Harmon April 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Pending approval sucks as well Patch people....a huge step in the wrong direction.., free speech requires no ones approval ...who is the speech god on this site??
Brandie Jefferson April 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM
It's a new system, Buck, as of a few hours ago. We're working out the settings -- not everything will require approval. Thanks for your patience.
Dana Schwartz April 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I never voted for Mike Miller, yet he seemingly has a massive amount of control over everything that goes on in my state! His advocacy of organized gambling interests is appalling and I have never heard of one good thing he has done for the majority of Maryland citizens outside his one small district (no casinos there, of course!). Throw him out!
John Thompson April 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM
All this talk about gambling reminds me that I have more of a problem with slots than table games. But to the primary subject, there are tons of inefficiencies in Maryland state government, but they choose to cut schools first because this allows for the most finger pointing and shock value.
David J Iacono April 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM
That's right, cut funding for higher education. That's the one thing that is necessary to keep us competitive in the global market. It seems elected office is the only job that doesn't require any intelligence, experience or common sense. It seems both Democrats and Republicans have run their course. Time to elect Independents with brains.
MG42 April 10, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Oh yes, subsidy for higher ed is what's keeping us competitive. God forbid that we have fewer history majors or art majors to lead us out of the recession. One of the many reasons this nation is circling the drain is because too many people are pursing worthless degrees on the government's dime.
JustABill April 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I love how it is completely ignored that the original O'Malley budget was filled with so much wasteful spending and unreasonable tax increases that even his own democrat controlled General Assembly would not pass it. If the tax and spend democrats of Maryland are saying enough is enough then you know someone has a problem.
JustABill April 10, 2012 at 02:21 PM
David, Republicans cannot be blamed for any of this budget mess or anything else that comes out of Annapolis because the democrats not only have the majority in both houses of the General Assembly but they also have total control of what comes out of committee for a vote on the floor and limit debate on issues as they see fit. If you are unhappy with how they are doing their jobs down in Annapolis you have the democrats to thank.
Lauren April 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM
seriously, why are the things that get cut first school budgets? unbelievable! How about we cut politicians salaries instead...so many things could be done with the money that they're wasting...
DONNA SPITZER April 10, 2012 at 03:00 PM
So Seriously MD General Assembly, You make Serious budget cuts...And during the same assembly time You decide it's Better to REQUIRE students to Stay in school until 18yrs of age Even though they DO NOT want to be there??? HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE??? Cut budget Force students to stay longer??? C R A Z Y !!!!
What is happening? April 10, 2012 at 03:25 PM
What do our state representatives do with the state lottery money? I remember the promises some of our elected officials made regarding how the lottery funds would be used when the lottery first came to Maryland. They promised to use them for education so our students would not be left wanting ... ever!!!! What happens in our state capitol is an outrage!!!!!!!
JH April 10, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Dems have spent that money several times over. Out of control spending to buy the votes of people that don't pay taxes. The state is now a magnet to too many freeloaders.
Richard Bardo April 10, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Marylanders, in spite of high taxes and lawmakers overspending, continue to be too stupid to throw the bums out. Election after election, they continue to put the same dopes in power. Marylanders could learn a few things from Virginia, which manages to balance its budget, or nearly so. And Virginia continues to support high ranking colleges and universities. Marylanders shouldn't forget that years ago they allowed Glendening to provide massive state funding for infrastructure around Redskins Stadium, which continues to house the team with perhaps the worst recent record in the NFL. Guess that team and Maryland deserve each other.
George Spencer April 10, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Interesting how disappointed financially comfortable people like O'Malley and certain Genrl Assembly Reps can not relate to Marylanders who have had no increases in household income. Interesting how the disappointed play the panic the citizens button card ~ and ~ pick on and threaten cuts in present education or other emotional issues such as cuts in present law or fire enforcement. We're sitting on $35.6 billion balanced budget revenue stream to review and prioritize and reset allocations. After all should there not be plenty of $'s under present schedules ~ as ~ Marylanders now pay an over all combination of the 5th highest fee/taxes & piggy back taxes in the US. (US Census). Should be plenty of total $ to work with. Hats off to the Genrl Assembly Members who held the line tax/fee increase line. They at least understand the financials realities of MD citizens and businesses. They should be given recognition for having demonstrated fiduciary responsibility on the behalf of their constituents ~ instread of being demeaned by political power brokers. (Interesting on how the Rev increase need talked about ~ 1 billion $ amount is = to the money redirected from the transportation trust fund under O’Malley’s management.) Marylanders need to re-group and demand a 3rd party MD revenue source and expense allocation spending audit for the past 10 years. After all MD taxpayers provide legislators more $ per household that 47 of the other states.
Native April 11, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Don't believe those idiots in Annapolis, the first thing that they alway say will be cut when they don't get their way is education. It's all smoke & mirrors. All those fools know how to do is raise taxes & fees. I'm glad some of them had the cajones to balk at all the spending. More spending cuts is what we want & need!
Native April 11, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Gee Buck, I wonder why they started this.......
Kirk R. April 11, 2012 at 03:33 PM
1. They purposefully chose to have to cut school funding, so that they could turn around in a few days and raise all of our taxes. 2. We have a billion dollar shortfall every year that we have to overcome ... with SURPRISE... more taxes. 3. We continually reelect these same idiots (O'Malley, Mike Miller, Mike Busch, and others) because we are a one party system where the one party isn't paying attention. 4. Every year O’Malley claims to “save us” from Billion dollar deficits.
Dana Schwartz April 11, 2012 at 04:40 PM
*I* didn't reelect Mike Miller. The only way to stop them is term limits, as far as I can see. We fought against him on putting the redskins in Laurel, for putting slots in Laurel and Maryland, for putting casinos in Maryland, and now this. Too powerful and not accountable to the vast majority of people he's hurting.
JoeEldersburg April 12, 2012 at 03:42 PM
As George Orwell offered, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". We are victims of of a patronage system that has simply run its course now that there is a reluctance to raise taxes w/out corresponding cuts in spending. We've been hearing the lie for years that reductions in the rate of budget growth are "savings". Spending growth requires more revenue and when revenue is already down it's worse. Real spending cuts would require no cuts to education. Stop the mandates and the budget games. Throw the bums out. Elect responsible independent leaders w/state funded elections and staunch term limits.
Buck Harmon April 12, 2012 at 06:43 PM
"Throw the bums out. Elect responsible independent leaders w/state funded elections and staunch term limits." I agree with this statement JoeEldersburg..
JoeEldersburg April 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
The fact that the Senate chamber bears the name of its presiding President says it all...Miller calls all the shots in Annapolis. Maryland will make zero progress toward anything substantive until at a minimum he and Busch are both gone.

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