Schaefer complains local jurisdictions may be wasteful with funds from state

July 23, 1992|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer complained yesterday that state agencies have been cut to the bone while some local governments do not spend state aid as frugally as they should.

As he presided over the official cutting of $56.5 million from the state budget yesterday, the governor cautioned that even deeper cuts were in store in coming months, particularly for some local governments.

State employees have forfeited cost-of-living raises and longevity increases, but some counties are giving their workers bigger paychecks, Mr. Schaefer complained.

"It's not fair. I think we'll take that into account when we make up the budget next time," he said.

The state faces a deficit ranging from $170 million to $240 million for its fiscal year that began July 1, according to various estimates.

Baltimore, Howard, Harford and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore City are among those jurisdictions that have granted at least some eligible workers longevity pay increases.

Mr. Schaefer also complained that only five counties had taken advantage of extra taxing power the last General Assembly gave to local governments. In the Baltimore area, only Baltimore County has done so.

Yesterday's budget-cutting session marked the seventh such round in two years. More than $1 billion has been cut in that time.

Nonetheless, Mr. Schaefer said, state aid to local governments increased 10 percent in the last two years, while most state agencies received a 6 percent cut. Welfare and social services programs, however, grew 38 percent as the recession left more Marylanders without jobs.

The Board of Public Works, which consists of the governor, comptroller and treasurer, yesterday approved the cuts to balance the books on the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Slicing the budget for the current fiscal year, the board took $20 million from state agencies, leaving 15 employees without jobs.

The board also chopped $36.5 million in aid to Baltimore's 24 subdivisions for education, health programs, police departments and community colleges.

Some local cuts were slightly increased or decreased since they were announced last week as budget officials fine-tuned the plan.

Baltimore City lost $5.5 million, almost $200,000 less than announced. Baltimore County lost almost $4.9 million, about $150,000 more than expected. The reductions were $2.8 million for Anne Arundel, $700,000 for Carroll, $1.2 million for Harford and $1 million for Howard.

The governor decided not to cut as much money from the Prince George's County magnet schools program, after heavy lobbying by that county's legislators. Prince George's lost almost $9 million in state aid during this round, rather than the $12.3 million proposed last week.

Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening said he hoped the state would work more closely with local governments when cutting budgets and developing revenue forecasts.

"You cannot run a school system if you make [budget cuts] every quarter. You cannot run a police department if you don't know how much money and officers you will have next month," Mr. Glendening said.

He compared the state's revenue projections, on which its budget was based, with his own county's forecast. The state predicted 6 percent revenue growth, while Prince George's projected 1 percent growth.

Baltimore County also devised more conservative revenue estimates than did the state. County Executive Roger B. Hayden said if his own budget estimates prove correct, the state could have a deficit exceeding $400 million this fiscal year.

Mr. Hayden wants the General Assembly to meet in special session as soon as possible so that budget cuts can be made.

But after holding two special sessions in 1991, lawmakers are distressed even by the thought of another one. "I think if we even considered the prospect, we'd have a revolt of legislators and constituents," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George's County Democrat.

Aid cuts to counties

Following is the reduction in aid to Baltimore and the 23 counties approved by the Board of Public Works yesterday:

Allegany............ $658,132

Anne Arundel........ $2.8 million

Baltimore........... $5.5 million

Baltimore Co........ $4.9 million

Calvert............. $179,730

Caroline............ $211,166

Carroll............. $701,925

Cecil............... $558,436

Charles............. $914,934

Dorchester.......... $242,928

Frederick........... $912,943

Garrett............. $269,334

Harford............. $1.2 million

Howard.............. $1 million

Kent................ $147,375

Montgomery.......... $4.6 million

Prince George's..... $9 million

Queen Anne's........ $227,744

St. Mary's.......... $391,967

Somerset............ $173,621

Talbot.............. $186,590

Washington.......... $978,378

Wicomico............ $641,604

Worcester........... $188,518.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.