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Analyst: ‘Doomsday Budget’ would cost 500 state jobs

Alexander Pyles//Daily Record Business Writer//March 6, 2012

Analyst: ‘Doomsday Budget’ would cost 500 state jobs

By Alexander Pyles

//Daily Record Business Writer

//March 6, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — Hundreds of state jobs would be eliminated and agencies would face across-the-board budget cuts should the Maryland Senate choose to pass a so-called “Doomsday Budget,” according to the state’s director of the Office of Policy Analysis in the Department of Legislative Services.

“I am not going to say the world would come to an end if all of this were to come to pass,” Warren G. Deschenaux told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Tuesday. “But it would be a different world.”

Under the proposal, which contains no new revenue streams and more than $1 billion in cuts, 500 state jobs — many in public safety, corrections and human resources — would have to be eliminated for the state to close its budget deficit. Agency budgets would be cut by 8 percent, Deschenaux said.

Local jurisdictions would take a $307 million hit, too, with Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County accounting for $188 million of the reduction.

“This is not a scare tactic,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert. “The governor’s proposed budget, it’s got revenues as well as cuts. You’ve got three options — revenues, cuts or a combination of both, and this is what we’re going to come up with if we can’t come up with an agreement.”

State Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, D-Baltimore City, said senators should now understand the impact of not approving some tax or fee increases as a method for closing the deficit.

“If we don’t get the votes for the budget we’re putting together, this has a real possibility of moving out of the Senate,” said McFadden, the committee’s vice chairman. “There is a real possibility.”

A big piece of the alternative option outlined Tuesday could come from eliminating the Geographic Cost of Education Index, which would save about $129 million. The GCEI, which is the only part of education aid not strictly mandated under Maryland law, helps areas where schooling costs more.

Another $101 million could come from reductions in Medicaid. The state also could save $115 million by reducing funding for higher education by 10 percent. Eliminating 500 state government positions would save another $30 million.

Sen. Delores Kelley, D-Baltimore County, asked Deschenaux about other alternatives, but he said there weren’t any others on the table.

“This is plan B and C,” Deschenaux said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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