Sunday, March 21, 2010

Senator Nancy King Comments on the Budget

Senator Nancy King (D-39), a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee, sent out the following legislative update to her constituents containing information on the current state of the budget.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, I can tell you that this year's budget process is the most inclusive and consensus-driven in recent memory. Everyone knows that the national recession left us with a serious budget problem, and we have worked hard to ensure that everyone who has asked has had a seat at the table as we try to resolve it.

Working together, we have cut $5.5 billion in spending during this four year term, and we have reduced the State workforce by 3,500 positions. Our general fund - the State's equivalent of an operating budget - is smaller today than it was at the beginning of the term. This is the first time in four decades that we have reduced the size of government over a four-year period of time.

Our Spending Affordability Committee meets each year before session to recommend a spending goal to the Governor. Comprised of lawmakers from both political parties and private sector budget experts, the Committee recommended zero percent growth in the budget this year. The Governor met and exceeded this goal by introducing a budget with $1 billion in cuts.

Over the past 66 days, I have participated in public hearings on every aspect of the State budget, including a joint hearing where members of the minority party shared their budget proposals. Everyone's ideas - regardless of political affiliation, ideology or geography - have received a free and fair debate. This past week in the Budget & Taxation Committee, we have made additional cuts to the budget and next week we will spend hours debating the budget on the Senate floor.

If you'd like to better understand the cuts we are considering, and how those cuts might impact the State, the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute has set up an on-line "Budget Game" that lets you try your hand at balancing the State budget. The site includes options under consideration, and might help you better understand the challenges we face. You can take a look here:

While the politicians in Washington, D.C. are twisting each other's arms, here in Annapolis we are working together to solve the problems that Maryland faces. We're building consensus around a series of cuts that will ensure our budget is balanced, while protecting priority investments in public education, job creation and public safety.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and providing me with your input on issues facing our community. If there is anything I can do for you, or you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 301-858-3686 or email me at

Senator Nancy King