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Maryland governor Martin O'Malley has released his final budget proposal to the tune of $39.3 billion. It contains no tax or fee increases and includes millions in spending cuts that would help close the state's budget deficit.
The proposal includes a 3 percent increase in college tuition, $4 million going towards the implementation of universal pre-Kindergarten and $289 million for school construction.
Today's unveiling of the budget turned into more of a retrospective on O'Malley's two terms in office. He talked of all the billions of dollars that have been cut from state government in his seven years.
But critics have long argued O'Malley didn't actually cut anything, he instead just slowed spending by not fully funding state spending formulas, which essentially mandate that more money be spent in areas like education each year.
O'Malley himself conceded that some of that is true.
"A lot of these cuts were cuts to spending growth. But some of the growth we intended," he said.
O'Malley adds that reducing the total amount of money the state spends from one year to the next is unrealistic because of population growth. He points out that almost half of the state budget goes to education at a time when many local school systems and community colleges are seeing their enrollments rise annually.