The University System of Maryland would eliminate about 100 positions, including 41 currently filled jobs, under a plan by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to trim $82 million from the fiscal 2017 budget to pare down spending and offset impending budget shortfalls.
Budget Secretary David Brinkley said Friday that an $18.2 million cut to the University System of Maryland is part of a larger effort to close what could amount to a $250 million gap in the state’s $42 billion budget.
Under the proposal, which must be approved by the state Board of Public Works, the state would cut $4 million from its allocated disparity grants, including $3.5 million of a $7 million funding increase that had been allocated to Prince George’s County. The county would still receive $26.5 million in disparity grants, which are formula-based and given to counties whose per-capita income tax revenue is lower than the state average.
The spending cuts are expected to be presented Wednesday to the three-member Board of Public Works, which includes the governor, Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D).
The proposal comes just days after a top legislative analyst told state lawmakers that they have to “get real” in addressing budget shortfalls by taking a hard look at spending.
“We can’t continue to spend more than we bring in,” Brinkley said Friday during a conference call with reporters. He said he did not have any details on the positions affected within the University System of Maryland.
The plan to cut $82 million also reduces $3.4 million from the homeowner’s tax-credit program, $9.1 million from juvenile services and $3.7 million from Temporary Cash Assistance payments. Brinkley said the tax-credit program reduction reflects a lower estimate on usage. The program will still have $60 million, he said. He also noted that welfare caseloads have dropped an average of 6 percent over the past three years so the $3.7 million cut reflects the lower caseload. There has also been a reduction in the number of out-of-state placements for juvenile services, he said.
Hogan will also propose taking $20 million from the general fund that is currently allocated to Medicaid spending, and instead cover those costs with money from the cigarette restitution fund balance.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said he was disappointed in the cuts to the disparity grants and other local programs. Baker, considered a possible challenger to Hogan in 2018, said the governor’s action “is clearly indicating that he does not want the state to assist residents in our community.”