- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2008

ANNAPOLIS

State funds to accommodate tens of thousands of new jobs expected to come to Maryland because of military base realignment will not be spared from budget cuts, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown said Wednesday.

The state’s Board of Public Works is scheduled this month to take up budget cuts after revenue estimates in September indicated Maryland would collect $432 million less during the current fiscal year than previously estimated.

“Included in those cuts will be items that were designed to ensure BRAC readiness,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat who is heading the state’s preparations for new military jobs.

He also said a higher education fund for preparing people for high-tech military jobs could be cut. Transportation projects related to accommodating the expected influx of new workers already have been delayed.



“I’d like to be able to say that because of the importance of BRAC that we can protect it and fence it off and make it immune from the declining fiscal reality, but we can’t say that,” Mr. Brown said. “Every state government program, project, initiative is at risk.”

Mr. Brown spoke to reporters after the first meeting of BRAC Stat, an extension of the statistical-based government management tool that Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, used while mayor of Baltimore and has incorporated into state government.

Mr. Brown said key state agencies will review statistics to try and spot trends related to BRAC and use the data to try to get ahead of potential problems.

The state estimates 45,000 to 60,000 direct and indirect jobs will come to Maryland because of the base realignment. About 15,000 of the jobs are directly connected to realignment and are scheduled to be on open by 2011, Mr. Brown said. The rest of the jobs are expected over the course of two to five years.

State officials think there is potential for 28,000 new households to come to the state by 2015. BRAC Stat will gather officials from state departments to try to measure the rate at which people will come to Maryland.

Mr. O’Malley has said this round of cuts will be more painful than previous ones, which have added up to an estimated $1.8 billion since he took office in January 2007. The previous spending reductions were made largely without significant cuts to top administration priorities.

“But at the end of the day, we have to balance this budget and there are no painless options available to us any longer in addressing that with this national economic downturn,” Mr. O’Malley said Tuesday, adding that education, health and public safety will be affected.

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