Governor Hogan presented the Maryland FY 2016 Budget that for the first time in many years is truly balanced, eliminating a $767 million shortfall from the previous administration while providing record spending for education and school construction.
“As introduced, our budget puts Maryland on sound financial footing without raising taxes or fees and without eliminating agencies, or departments, or services, without laying off a single state employee and without any furloughs whatsoever,” Hogan said.
The budget includes a 2% across-the-board cut in state agencies but leaves it to the departments to find the savings. “We want them to have discretion as to where they can make some of the adjustments without affecting services to the citizens,” Budget Secretary David Brinkley
“I’m introducing record spending in K-12 education and growth in higher education spending as well,” Hogan said.
The plan fully funds transportation and money remains in place for new mass transit, such as the proposed Red Line project in Baltimore and the Purple Line in the DC suburbs but puts both projects on hold pending further review.
While tax cuts were not included in the current budget announcement, the governor promised tax cut proposals before the end of the legislative session.
The Maryland FY 2016 Budget includes:
$6.1 billion for education, a record amount, including a $45.3 million increase in spending for schools.
$290 million in capital spending for K-12 education projects including $280 million for the Public School Construction and $6.5 million for a new academic building and dormitory at the Maryland School for the Blind.
$1.2 billion in state funding for the University of Maryland Systemmwith a $15.4 million or 1.3 percent over last year.
$1.36 billion for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, funding the state’s correctional facilities, parole and probation programs, and a number of drug treatment and rehabilitation programs both in and outside of facility walls.
$390 million in capital funding is allocated for environmental programs and land preservation, including $279 million for water quality improvement projects, $84 million for land preservation under Program Open Space, Rural Legacy, and Agricultural Land Preservation.
$48 million for improvements to Maryland’s health infrastructure, including $30 million toward development of a new regional medical center in Prince George’s County.
$1.02 billion for the Developmental Disabilities Administration, an increase of 8 percent over the prior year.