Schaefer Slashes State Budget

November 15, 1990|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Evening Sun Staff

Gov. William Donald Schaefer today detailed $176 million in cost containment measures, the first round of budget cuts necessary to cope with a state deficit approaching $300 million.

Most of the cost savings in the 1990-91 budget are coming through hiring freezes imposed several weeks ago, travel restrictions and relatively minor budget cutbacks. But some programs, particularly in the state health department, will be heavily cut.

Schaefer was to present budget cuts to the state Board of Public Works for approval this afternoon.

"This is the first round of pain," said Del. Charles J. Ryan, D-Prince George's, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The state budget has suffered because of soaring costs in such programs as welfare and human resources, as well as slumping tax revenue figures brought on by the weak economy.

The state health department and the University of Maryland system will be hit hardest by the cuts announced today. The 11 universities in the system will have to absorb a 6 percent cut in their budget, a total of $38 million. The cuts include a hiring freeze and reductions in some grant programs.

The health department is facing cuts of $43.4 million. The department expects to save $6 million by diverting some poor patients away from state hospitals and into clinics and doctors' offices. The state will save about $3 million by cutting back its financial support for kidney patients.

Schaefer will also borrow $20 million from the State Accident Fund. His own executive department's budget will be cut by $106,050.

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