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O’Malley says Maryland will consider tapping reserve fund to deal with federal shutdown

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Tuesday that the state could try to lessen the impact of a lengthy federal government shutdown by tapping a $100 million fund set up by the legislature to deal with the consequences of the federal sequestration process.

“We have flexibility on how to use these funds, and we’re actively assessing all of our options so that we can minimize the harmful effects of prolonged congressional recklessness on Maryland families and businesses,” O’Malley said in a statement.

Furloughs of federal workers during a government shutdown could cost Maryland $5 million a day in income and sales tax collections, according to an analysis prepared by O’Malley’s budget advisers that became public last week.

During this year’s 90-day legislative session, the General Assembly set up a special reserve account to help weather the fallout in Maryland from federal budget cuts due to the sequester. Last month, O’Malley announced he was taking $9 million from the account to bolster funding for initiatives including Head Start, Meals on Wheels and drug treatment programs.

In Tuesday’s statement, O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, blamed Tuesday’s federal shutdown on Republicans.

“The federal government shutdown that congressional Republicans forced upon us will needlessly hurt hardworking Maryland moms and dads who are federal employees; harm small and large businesses across Maryland — including health, aerospace, and defense companies; and threaten our State’s budget in a time of economic recovery,” O’Malley said.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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