The Washington Times - September 9, 2008, 07:06PM

State budget leaders announced this morning the state is facing a new, $432 million shortfall in the current budget year. That’s on top of a $70 million drop in revenues at the close of the last fiscal year, and before budgeteers consider the next fiscal budget, which many expect to have a $1 billion shortfall.

And hardly anyone in Annapolis is willing to swallow more tax increases, after the $1.4 billion or so in taxes that was raised during last year’s special session.

SEE RELATED:


This leaves one major option: budget cuts, lots of budget cuts.

With no other plan on the table, it might be instructive to look back at the “Doomsday Budget” scenario analysts presented to lawmakers last June when the state was facing a $1.5 billion budget deficit.

Here are some of the highlights:

- Shift $324 million in teacher pension payments from the state to the counties.

- Freeze state worker salaries, save $62 million

- Freeze education aid to the counties, save $137 million

- Cut state aid to prrivate universities, save $64 million

A few important caveats: 1) These spending estimates are one year old and 2) These are just suggestions from fiscal analysts and hardly a blueprint for what will actually be cut.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has not outlined where he would cut, yet, and nobody has floated any specific plans. But many of the items listed in the Doomsday scenario, such as teacher pension payments, have been debated thoroughly in Annapolis.

Tom LoBianco, Maryland political reporter, The Washington Times