Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Friday that he would reopen a state police barrack in Annapolis and add 100 troopers to the law-enforcement agency despite the legislature refusing to fund those moves as part of a budget amendment.
Hogan said he would pay for the actions by vetoing $2 million from the capital budget that is dedicated to renovating the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis.
“I am a huge proponent of the arts, and the first lady is a former member of the Anne Arundel County Arts Council,” Hogan said. “But in the current environment, a State Police barrack in our state capital and adequate funding for public safety in Annapolis must be the priority.”
Aides to Democratic lawmakers said the governor’s plan is impossible, because capital funds cannot be shifted for operational expenses. David Juppe, a senior budget official with the Department of Legislative Services agreed.
“It’s not like that money can be used for any purpose – it’s gone,” he said. “Maybe it’s an aspirational statement, but the parameters of the budget are such that you can’t do it.”
The Maryland State Police facility in Annapolis, known as Barrack J, was closed during in 2008, during the tenure of then-Gov. Martin O’Malley. Hogan said the facility is scheduled to reopen in the fall.
To do that, Juppe said, the governor must find money for the barracks within the State Police budget. Noting that the budget passed by the legislature earlier this year requires the agency to trim $5 million in spending, he added: “It would be a tall order.”
With the planned expansion of troopers, the number of uniformed personnel for the state police would grow to 1,656, reaching the highest level in more than a dozen years, according to the governor’s office.
Hogan’s veto would not affect other parts of the capital budget, which will pass into law without the governor’s signature.