State Roundup, September 7, 2017

BPW SCALES CUTS TO $61M: The Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved a scaled-back version of a plan that Gov. Larry Hogan proposed last week to trim the state’s budget as part of an effort to prepare for future shortfalls, Josh Hicks of the Post reports. The three-member panel — Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp — voted unanimously in favor of reducing state spending by $61 million for the current fiscal year, but it dropped the administration’s request to eliminate $6.35 million, mostly in grants for revenue-hungry jurisdictions such as Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.

  • The cuts amounted to less than 0.2% of the state’s $43.5 billion budget. They included some reductions in aid to local governments, to colleges and to the juvenile justice system. Thirty vacant positions in higher education were eliminated, Michael Dresser writes in the Sun.

  • Disparity grants to local governments totaling more than $6 million make up the bulk of the proposed cuts withdrawn from the original proposal, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. The money, which can be used for a variety of programs, is typically used for education. Baltimore City and Prince George’s County are some of the larger recipients of the grants. The balance of the restored funding will go to Humanities Council and within the Department of Planning in the amounts of $150,000 and $200,000, respectively.

  • The state Department of Health will see the largest cut of any agency, at just over $22 million. State Budget Secretary David Brinkley said the largest portion of that, about $10 million, is the result of shorter hospital visits on average. The University System of Maryland loses $8 million, including money for 30 vacant positions that won’t be filled. Brinkley said Morgan State University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Baltimore City Community College will see cuts of a similar proportion relative to those schools’ budgets, Rachel Baye reports for WYPR-FM.

KOPP CRITICIZES DACA ACTION: State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp leveled a blistering critique of President Donald J. Trump Wednesday in response to the president’s decision to end protections for people brought into the country illegally as children. The Sun’s Michael Dresser reports that Kopp, a Democrat, called the decision “just un-American” and “wrong.” “The so-called leaders in Washington are bringing out the worst in us,” Kopp said during her opening remarks at the Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis.

DR. WEN TELLS HER STORY: Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen writes about her own immigrant story in a piece for the opinion page of the Sun. In supporting the DACA program, she also relates that to the dreamers whose futures are now left uncertain.