April 8, 2010

Late bond bill additions questioned

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By Erich Wagner
Erich@MarylandReporter.com

The House passed the state’s capital budget Wednesday, despite Republican allegations that the House Appropriations Committee improperly added projects at the last minute.

Del. Susan Krebs, R-Carroll, accused Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Adrienne Jones of adding projects to the budget that did not go through the proper process for local bond bills, the state’s version of earmarks.

“The process was violated by the very person who wrote the rules [for filing bond bills],” Krebs said.

Krebs unsuccessfully introduced an amendment that would take $1 million from the funding for those projects, many of which are for schools in Jones’ native Baltimore County. The measure would have put the money toward projects to fix aging schools. She said the money should be available for all schools in the state, instead of just the chair’s constituency.

“There was no bond bill, no hearing, and no paperwork [for these projects],” Krebs said. “This amendment just takes the money for those projects and puts it back in the Aging Schools Fund.”

But Jones disagreed with of Krebs’ argument. She said the projects did receive hearings, and that the addition of these projects was nothing out of the ordinary.

“In the capital budget, we can amend the bill to add projects,” Jones said, adding that projects are often added in this fashion when proposals come up late in the session. “There are projects from Republicans and Democrats. This is the authority that the Appropriations Committee has. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done previously.”

The amendment failed by a vote of 36-101.