Gov. Larry Hogan made good on his promise to slash the state budget with his proposal which was due only a couple days after he was sworn in. And included among the cuts to Medicaid reimbursements to doctors, the Geographic Cost of Education Index, and state employees’ wages are $112 million worth of unspecified cuts.
Maryland Reporter columnist Barry Rascovar could barely contain his enthusiasm for the budget proposal, calling gubernatorial adviser Bobby Neall “an acknowledged master of the state’s budgeting process” and counting the general outrage over cuts as a sure sign that Hogan “must be doing something right.” Besides, “[i]n reality, this is a placeholder budget for Hogan.” Next year will be the real deal.
The Maryland legislature’s chief budge analyst Waren Deschenaux is less into it. He considers the $112 million in unspecified cuts (an across-the-board two-percent spending reduction for state agencies) a “bad precedent” and a “very dangerous… approach to budgeting.” (Of course, it’s about as unspecified as the two-percent spending reduction O’Malley pushed through the Board of Public Works earlier this month.) “You really should know what you’re doing,” Deschenaux told the Washington Post.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the Hogan camp says the proposal is designed to give the brand new agency secretaries “broad discretion” in what to cut. But of course, that’s exactly the problem from Deschenaux’s point of view.
If you’re wondering just how Hogan plans to cut a bunch of taxes this year after slashing the budget to make up a projected $800 million revenue shortfall, don’t worry. He’s proposing some long terms cuts as well.
I guess, assuming all goes well, the poor will be able to use their fat tax refunds to pay for their medical care once their doctor stops accepting Medicaid.
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