ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 16, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, today released the FY 2009 budget for the State of Maryland. The FY 2009 budget includes $333 million for school construction, another year of record funding for K-12 Education, full funding of Program Open Space, increased funding for the environment and public safety, and funding for the expansion of health care coverage.
“Maryland’s budget is one of the clearest reflections of the values we share to build a stronger, healthier Maryland for the next generation, and to make progress on our shared goals,” said Governor O’Malley. “Building on the progress we made to make State government work again last year, we remain committed to expanding economic opportunities for Maryland’s families and small businesses, reforming and improving our schools and making higher education more affordable, improving public safety and homeland security, and protecting our quality of life and our natural resources.”
“Governor O’Malley and I understand that strong states like Maryland are not born through chance, they are built through the investments we make in ourselves,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “The budget we introduced today is a reflection of the goals we set and the promises we made to improve public safety and education, expand opportunities to more Marylanders and strengthen Maryland’s working families.”
Governor O’Malley’s budget grows less than the Spending Affordability Limit set by the General Assembly and the Rainy Day Fund balance will grow to $739 million by the close of FY 2009. The General Fund balance projected for the close of FY 2009 is $177 million, and $210 million is allocated for future retiree health care costs, double the amount included last year. Governor O’Malley also cut spending by $550 million – on top of the $280 million in reductions achieved last July.
Protecting our families – and maintaining our quality of life – is a key component of the FY 2009 budget. The budget includes $124.5 million to expand health care coverage and provides additional funds to improve access to oral health care, expand community placements for those under the State’s care, enhance substance abuse treatment programs, and continue advancements in the promising field of stem cell research.
An educated workforce is central to economic growth and improving Maryland’s competitiveness in the global economy. The FY 2009 budget includes investments in K-12 education, higher education, technical and professional training, adult training and literacy programs, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) readiness, and business growth and job development.
Building on a $400 million investment last year for school construction, the FY 2009 capital budget includes $333 million for new schools and school renovation projects in local jurisdictions. The budget includes an increase of $184 million for K-12 Education, including an unprecedented $75.8 million for the Geographic Cost of Education Index. The budget includes $54.9 million from the new Higher Education Investment Fund to keep college tuition affordable, and address enrollment growth, the achievement gap, and workforce capacity. Earlier this week, Governor O’Malley announced a tuition freeze for higher education in Maryland for the third consecutive year.
The FY 2009 budget makes strategic investments to continue Maryland’s economic growth – and expand opportunity for our neighbors in every jurisdiction, including $72.5 million for business development programs (including $18.4 million to support small or minority business entrepreneurs), an increase of $2.3 million for Vocational Rehabilitation programs, $23 million for stem cell research, $6 million for Biotechnology Investment Tax credits, $5 million in the capital budget to continue development of the East Baltimore Biotechnology Park, and $2.4 million for the Nano-Tech Biotechnology fund.
Maryland has tremendous opportunities for growth and economic development in the year ahead, but we also face the tremendous challenge of managing growth and development in a more sustainable way to preserve and protect our natural resources and the quality of life that we enjoy as Marylanders.
To meet these challenges, the FY 2009 budget includes $156 million for nutrient removal from wastewater treatment plants, $50 million for the new 2010 Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, $45.7 million for agricultural land preservation, and $45.6 million for Program Open Space.
The FY 2009 budget also provides funding for energy efficiency and conservation programs to help the State meet its “Empower Maryland” goal of reducing energy consumption by 15% by 2015, including $481,000 and 7 new positions for the Maryland Energy Administration to help move toward more sustainable energy use; $5.5 million for weatherization assistance for low income homeowners; and funding for capital projects to incorporate “green” or sustainable features into State buildings. Under the Clean Cars initiative, the FY 2009 budget also allows the Maryland Transit Administration to purchase 30 new hybrid-electric buses for the Baltimore Metro area; and $621,000 is included in the capital budget to construct statewide infrastructure to support ethanol fueled vehicles.
Public safety is the foundation of the quality of life we enjoy in Maryland and is the primary responsibility of any government to its citizens. Security integration – the sharing of law enforcement resources, data and intelligence – is essential to making our neighborhoods and communities more secure.
To this end, the FY 2009 budget supports coordination of state and local law enforcement efforts across jurisdictional lines, including wireless interoperability projects, new offender monitoring programs to improve public safety in our communities, an expansion of DNA analysis and sampling for those arrested for violent crimes, and improved detention facilities and treatment programs for inmates.
The FY 2009 budget also includes substantial funding to support and improve the quality of life for Maryland National Guard members and U.S. armed services veterans. A new Reintegration Program receives $800,000 in General Funds to assist Maryland National Guard members returning from overseas deployments in readjusting to life at home.
[ read budget highlights - view presentation slides - listen to audio mp3 ]
January 16, 2008