Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley released his state budget last week and while he’s touting record cuts and continued investments in job creation, everyone statewide is not pleased.

“To create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments, and that’s why our proposed budget for FY 2013 invests in job creation and its key ingredients: education, innovation and rebuilding our State’s infrastructure,” said O’Malley in a statement. “We balance these modern investments with fiscally responsible revenues and cuts that will bring our six year total to $7.5 billion, the most of any six-year period in Maryland’s history.”

Among the investments O’Malley’s budget calls for are a $7.9 million investment for small, minority and women-owned businesses, a $10.2 million increase in funding to the state’s HBCU’s, nearly $1.1 billion in funding to Prince George’s County and almost $1.2 billion to Baltimore City.

“In Maryland, we understand that the best way to create jobs and help our families, friends and neighbors through these difficult economic times is to come together around our shared priorities,” said Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. “The budget that Governor O’Malley has outlined today takes the balanced approach we need to improve the health of our communities, invest in our children’s education, strengthen our infrastructure and put more Marylanders back to work.”

O’Malley made some key cuts as well. The major cut comes in the form of putting some of the burden of paying teacher pensions on the counties-a measure that not everyone is happy with.

One of those people unhappy with the idea of having to pay for teacher pensions is Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. Baker has been a staunch supporter and ally of O’Malley throughout his time in office. However, O’Malley’s current proposal is something that Baker says the county can’t handle.

“I am concerned about the Governor’s proposal to shift the cost of teacher pensions onto counties and other jurisdictions,” Baker said in a statement. “Like other leaders around the state, I believe this shift will have a dramatic impact on our budget in 2013 and into the future, because our tax and revenue models do not factor in the County taking responsibility for teacher pensions.”

Baker said his office will continue to examine the budget though before making any final determinations and will be addressing it further in the near future.

“My administration is currently reviewing Governor O’Malley’s budget proposal,” he stated. “We will have more specific feedback …over the next few weeks as we analyze the impact it would have on Prince George’s County and its residents.”

The budget also calls for a cap on the number of deductions Maryland residents can claim on personal income tax returns and phases out exemptions for high-income earners. Tuition for the state’s public colleges and universities would increase by three percent.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO