Patrick Moran, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Maryland, disagreed fiercely.
The triggered cuts included an 8 percent across-the-board reduction to all state agency budgets and loss of a 2 percent pay increase for state employees.
“The breaking point is upon us, and this will only push us further in that direction,” Moran said.
Also lost entirely were hundreds of millions of dollars in discretionary spending and grant funding that counties have come to expect to help balance their budgets. Under a series of formulas used to divvy up those grants, Prince George’s would lose the most, about $65 million for classrooms, libraries and police in the spending year that begins in July.
That would increase the county’s projected shortfall by about 50 percent. Montgomery County wouldn’t fare much better. It would lose more than $41 million, exacerbating its budget gap by a similarly large margin.
Without the full budget deal, a plan to shift half of growing teacher pension costs to counties — long a third rail in Maryland politics — also was scrapped late Monday. That, along with the tax increases, had been expected to cover nearly half the state’s projected shortfall of $1 billion annually for the remainder of the decade.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said he spent much of Tuesday sorting through budget options for the county if the legislature’s cuts were to take effect. He also said that he remains optimistic that a gambling bill will be resurrected in a special session. He spent weeks lobbying for legislation that would let voters decide whether to allow a “high-end” casino at National Harbor and table games at all Maryland gambling venues.
The legislature’s two presiding officers offered differing accounts Tuesday on the interplay between the gaming bill and budget negotiations Monday.
Miller said a bill had been part of a handshake agreement reached with Busch and blamed the session’s unorthodox ending on how late that understanding was reached. “Things happen,” Miller said. “It’s not the fault of any one person.”
Busch, who complained Monday that Senate leaders had a “gaming obsession,” said Tuesday that he and Miller never reached a deal on the issue.
Busch said that he merely pledged to make a “good faith” effort to pass a bill and that by Monday night, he wasn’t sure whether there would be enough votes to do that. “That bill could have gone either way,” he said.
Staff writer Miranda Spivack contributed to this report.