ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Parris N. Glendening released his 2002 supplemental budget Friday, with $116.7 million in funding for new projects and proposals left out of his record-setting budgets.
Over the last few weeks, the House of Delegates and the Senate have whittled down the governor’s $21.3 billion operating budget and $1.5 billion capital budget to keep them within their suggested limits. The supplemental budget restores some funds for programs inadequately funded or skipped.
Glendening’s supplemental appropriations include an extra $30 million – funds hinging on the passage of House Bill 828, which creates a tax amnesty program.
The governor’s office reassured lawmakers nervous about projections that the state will run a $300 million deficit in 2003 that the state will have $650 million left in its reserves, including $552 million in the Rainy Day fund.
The governor’s supplemental budget funds projects in 15 jurisdictions, shutting out nine counties.
Anne Arundel received the most funds — $23.7 million — but state legislators will take nearly all of it. The General Assembly’s James and Lowe Office Buildings are slated to receive $22.7 million for renovations and additions.
Baltimore received the next most money, $19.05 million for nine projects, including $7 million for city revitalization and $5 million for a Coppin State College dining facility.
Prince George’s County was next, with $9.05 million.
Frederick County was doubly shut out of funding this year.
“We didn’t ask for anything” in the supplemental budget, said Sen. Timothy Ferguson, R-Frederick.
He is still disgruntled, however, by the omission of Frederick County projects in the capital budget — attributed by Sen. Thomas Middleton, D- Charles, to the Frederick legislators’ votes against the governor’s $21.3 billion operating budget earlier this month.
“I do believe it’s wrong to expect people to vote for a budget for a quid pro quo,” Ferguson said. “It creates walls among relationships.”
Other lawmakers are unhappy with the governor’s new appropriations.
The governor designated $45.9 million for health initiatives, including the $30 million tax amnesty proceeds for mental health — funding that was sorely needed according to lawmakers from both parties. But the state’s mental health programs already lack $41 million, according to Republican lawmakers.
And while that $30 million is needed for the Mental Hygiene Administration’s deficit, it doesn’t cover salary raises for caretakers of the mentally ill, said Delegate Robert Flanagan, R-Howard, a critic of the governor’s budget priorities.
“There is some money to shore up the deficiencies in mental health,” specifically for the psychiatric hospitals reimbursement rates, he said. “We have suppressed their rates for so long that several critical hospitals were on the verge of going out of business.”
The governor has promised $16.2 million in future budgets for pay raises for the caretakers of the developmentally disabled in response to lawmakers’ outrage over the lack of funding for those salaries.
That funding is contingent on the General Assembly’s approval of Glendening’s 2002 budget.
The governor also included $6.5 million for prescription drugs for the elderly. Legislators had hoped to get $10 million from state funds, and another $10 million from federal funds.
Education received $38.1 million, including $31.6 million for capital projects.
Public school construction coffers will receive $10 million from that fund.
The big education winners were the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s Food Science and Technology Center in Somerset County, which received $3.8 million, and Coppin State’s $5 million dining facility, which was targeted for deletion by the Department of Legislative Services.
Also Friday, House Appropriations Committee members donned bright yellow T-shirts emblazoned with “Fiscally Prudent and Socially Responsible.” And Sen. Barbara Hoffman, D-Baltimore, reminded the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that she wants to keep an ending balance of $100 million, or “as close as humanly possible.”
The entire budget, including the supplemental budget, still needs to be trimmed by about $48 million, Hoffman said. She also told committee members they can keep a $100 million end balance by “giving a little bit at the office” from their own projects.
The supplemental budget now goes to a joint conference committee for reconciliation, and Hoffman hopes for “a budget that we can live with,” including safety nets in case the economy does not improve.