ANNAPOLIS — Fourteen bus loads and approximately 700 Carroll residents overall joined about 20,000 Maryland teachers, students, government employees,union workers and social activists for a rally at the State House Wednesday night to protest against budget cuts.
Carroll teachers, students and community activists came from across the county to send a message that "these cuts won't heal," said Harold Fox, who handles contract negotiations for the Carroll County Education Association, which represents about 1,400 teachers.
"We're on a shoestring, and now the shoestring is being cut," said Fox. "At a certain point, it's impossible to do things that need tobe done."
The General Assembly must balance the latest $225 million shortfall in the current budget year and a projected $1.2 billion shortfall in the budget beginning July 1. Some legislators, includingthe Carroll delegation, say government should be cut without raisingany taxes. That could mean reducing education financing directly or indirectly through cuts in aid to local governments; reducing or eliminating social programs; and layoffs and wage reductions.
Fox saidCCEA advocates restructuring the state's tax system to make it more equitable, shifting some income tax burden from the lower and middle classes to the upper class. CCEA supports increasing the 5 percent sales tax to generate more revenue "to fund programs that will really hurt" if eliminated. Fox expressed concern that recently created programs in special education, computers, gifted and talented advancement and reading could be threatened.
"The school board has worked hardto prevent detrimental cuts to students, but now there's nowhere else to go," he said.
Delegate Donald B. Elliott, R-Carroll, Howard, who favors cutting government costs, questioned whether the teachers are lobbying primarily so their salaries won't be reduced. He said letters from several Pennsylvania residents who teach in Carroll askingMaryland to raise taxes make him suspect their motives.
CARROLL IS KEPT INTACT
ANNAPOLIS -- The governor submitted a state redistricting plan on the opening day of the General Assembly Wednesday that preserves one entire senatorial district within Carroll's borders.
The proposed change means that the district represented by Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines no longer would include Baltimore County precincts. It also would ensure that one more delegate would be elected with a Carroll residence. Currently, the majority of Democratic Delegate Lawrence A. LaMotte's constituents are in Baltimore County, where he resides, and the remainder are in Eldersburg.
Under the proposal, Carroll would have the same overall representation -- four delegates and two senators from two districts. But because of the proposed new alignment, which would take effect for the 1994 election, the legislators would be able to focus more exclusively on Carroll issues.
"Itgives us a little more influence," said Delegate Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll.
The legislature can alter the plan in the first 45 days of the session before it becomes law.
HAINES IS REASSIGNED
ANNAPOLIS -- Sen. Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll, Baltimore, has been assigned to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to fill a vacancy.
Theappointment was approved by the Senate president and the Republican Caucus. Haines served on the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee for his first year in the legislature.
Haines requested the reassignment to the committee, which handles family, criminal, corporate, estate and vehicle law and gun control. He said he looks forward to the challenge of being a non-lawyer on the committee.
"Ithink I can benefit my district more" on the committee, he said.