ANNAPOLIS–Gov. Larry Hogan announced a supplemental budget Friday that will ensure the construction of a new Prince George’s Regional Medical Center.
The supplemental budget, which is an amendment to the funding plan Hogan introduced on Jan. 20, will provide $55 million between the 2017 and 2021 fiscal years as Prince George’s Hospital Center closes and the new medical center is built. Included in that money is $15 million in operating funds for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.
“It’s been a long, sad story about the Prince George’s Hospital system, and this, we believe is a tremendous solution to decades of problems there,” Hogan said.
Days after he touted bipartisanship and advocated taking the “middle temperament” at his state of the state address Wednesday, Hogan announced the funding, undercutting legislation put forth by Senate President Thomas V. Mike V. Miller Jr., D-Calvert, that would have mandated funding for the hospital.
“I have no idea what that was all about, frankly,” Hogan said of Miller’s bill.
The supplemental budget was introduced to both chambers of the General Assembly shortly after Hogan announced it, eliciting light applause from the Senate.
Miller called it a “step in the right direction” for bipartisanship.
“It’s leadership, and it’s getting things done, it’s making things happen for the state of Maryland, talk is cheap, we govern by actions,” he said.
Though he said he was grateful for the funds, Miller complained that Hogan is still not communicating with him.
“All of us read about these things in the newspaper,” Miller said. “Like this supplemental budget, I’m glad he sent it down, but of course he had a press conference before he sent it down.”
The plan will transfer operations from the county to the University of Maryland Medical System, ending years of state “bailouts,” Hogan said, to keep the hospital functioning.
The budget also includes $135 million for construction of the new hospital, which includes $27.5 million that was already allocated for the medical center in Hogan’s original budget.
There are several applications and regulations that must be met before a new hospital may be built, including a certificate of need application signed by the Maryland Healthcare Commission.
Robert Chrencik, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical System, said having support from the state will help the process along.
Also in the Senate Friday, a vote to override Hogan’s veto of a law that would allow ex-felons to vote immediately after they’re released from incarceration, instead of waiting for their parole or probation to be finished, was postponed until Tuesday.
This is the second time this vote has been postponed. The first time, Miller wanted to wait until Sen. Craig Zucker (a delegate until Thursday) was sworn in.
Friday, the vote was postponed because two senators, Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, and Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, were absent.
Each vote matters, because the vote is expected to just make the two-thirds, or 29 votes, required to override a veto.