By Len Lazarick
The House Appropriations Committee on Friday sent Gov. Larry Hogan’s $43 billion budget to the House floor for votes this week. It made $90 million in trims to general fund spending while adding back $74 million in other areas, including $8.4 million more to fund a 3.5% pay hike for caregivers of the developmentally disabled and $15 million restored for a Prince George’s regional hospital.
The longest and most substantial debate occurred over a nearly $5 million cut in Hogan’s proposed funding of the BOOST Program to pay for scholarships of low-income students to private schools, including religious ones.
“We’re very divided on this,” conceded Appropriations Chair Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore, who argued strongly for spending only the same $2 million as the state did last year on the scholarships.