Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Board of Revenue Estimates revised its two-year revenue projections downward by $501 million. The correct figure is $51 million. The story has been corrected.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced new spending proposals Thursday that would boost funding for K-12 education and drug addiction treatment and pay for new construction at five of the state’s universities.
The $77 million plan is the latest addition to the $42 billion budget Hogan (R) pitched to the state legislature in January. The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is expected to approve the original budget with minor tweaks before next week, sending it to the full Senate for consideration.
Much of the additional money for Hogan’s new proposals would come from an estimated $58 million in savings from fewer Marylanders enrolling in Medicaid because the state economy improved, the administration said.
The proposals include $13.8 million in one-time funding for K-12 education, with $12.7 million slated for Baltimore and $1.1 million for Calvert County. Enrollment has declined in both jurisdictions, which means they would receive less money next year under the state’s school-funding formula. Earlier this year, the governor recommended similar aid for other counties where enrollment has declined, including Carroll, Garrett and Kent.
Hogan’s latest plan would also provide $3 million to support addiction treatment in prisons as part of the administration’s efforts to address a fast-growing heroin and opioid addiction epidemic.
The governor proposed an additional $46.2 million for construction at various public universities, including nearly $32 million for a new biomedical sciences and engineering building at the Universities at Shady Grove in Montgomery County and $4.7 million for a student services facility at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Coppin State, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore would also receive funding.
Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus sharply criticized Hogan last month for deferring money for Morgan State, a historically black college, while funding a new Baltimore jail. The governor responded by saying he would cancel the jail construction plan to free up money for educational priorities.
Hogan said his new spending proposals would leave the state with a projected surplus of $303 million at the end of the year, compared with an estimated $450 million cash balance under his initial budget.
The governor’s announcement came one day after the state Board of Revenue Estimates revised its two-year revenue projections downward by about $51 million and encouraged fiscal restraint. Earlier in the week, Hogan blasted Democrats for proposing dozens of bills that — if they all passed — would increase spending by $3.7 billion over the next five years.
Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said the governor’s spending proposals are different from those measures because they involve one-year rather than long-term expenditures.
Hogan’s original budget fully funded all state spending formulas, and the supplemental proposals have addressed other priorities raised by the Democrat-controlled state legislature. As a result, Democrats in the General Assembly have found few aspects of the plan to challenge.
“Many of the things we have been pushing for that we were going to try to address, the governor addressed them,” said Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), Senate Budget and Taxation Committee vice chair.
The committee has made only slight changes to Hogan’s fiscal plan, largely by adding language that would withhold some funding if recipients or the administration fail to meet various reporting requirements, such as one that says non-public schools must show compliance with anti-discrimination policies to receive state aid.
The panel postponed its scheduled Thursday vote on Hogan’s budget until Friday morning to determine whether changes are needed in light of the new spending proposals.