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Hogan may not have the votes to cut $672 million from Maryland's budget

Gov. Hogan wants to cut hundreds of millions from schools, colleges, health and public safety.

BETHESDA, Md. — Gov. Larry Hogan wants the Board of Public Works to cut $672 million from the state budget, but the governor needs the support of either the treasurer or the state comptroller, and both are resisting. 

A spokeswoman for Treasurer Nancy Kopp (D-Maryland) said she wants to wait two more weeks to look at the state's final fiscal year revenue numbers before locking in those kind of cuts. 

Comptroller Peter Franchot (D-Maryland) said he opposes $205 million of the governor's proposed spending reductions.

The governor needs at least one more vote in order for the cuts to education, health and public safety to be passed. 

Budget documents show higher education could take a huge hit, with almost $207 million in cuts. The Department of Health could lose more than $57 million in funding, and schools face cuts of more than $70 million. State Police and Public Safety could lose almost $45 million.

"This is what we would call a kick-them-while-they're-down budget," Patrick Moran, leader of the union representing the largest number of Maryland state workers (AFSCME), said. "This is like defunding the fire department during a wildfire out in the woods. It's ridiculous."

Cheryl Bost, a Baltimore County elementary school teacher and leader of the Maryland State Education Association, said schools are going to need more money, not less, whether they teach entirely online, back in schools, are some combination.

 "We're going to need PPE, we're going to need disinfectant on doorknobs, light switches, the HVAC units are going to need to be certified," she said regarding needs if school is taught in person. 

"These are tough times, and tough decisions need to be made," the governor's spokesperson, Michael Ricci, said. 

But both of Maryland's Senators are urging the governor to fill the budget hole temporarily with money it has set aside, in hopes of getting more federal aid later.

"The state has a $1 billion rainy day fund," Sen. Chris Van Hollen, (D-Maryland) said. "If this is not a rainy day, I don't know what is." 

Maryland's comptroller said the budget situation is really bad. 

"I'm very concerned, extremely concerned, because of the uncertainty," Franchot said. 

But he said the state can hold off on some of the cuts that are helping some of the hardest-hit people in the state, especially in Prince George's County.

Gov. Hogan wants the legislature to cut even more money when it comes back in session in January,  for a total of $1.45 billion out of a budget. 

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