HOGAN SEEKS $500B FOR STATES: Gov. Larry Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Association, is seeking $500 billion in aid from Congress to help states facing looming budget shortfalls amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jessica Anderson reports for the Sun. Hogan, a Republican, issued a joint statement with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who serves as the association’s vice chair, on Saturday.
AMID DIRE PROJECTIONS, HOGAN FREEZES BUDGET: Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that he’s enacting a state budget freeze as Maryland continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic that has infected nearly 7,000 Marylanders, Pamela Wood and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report.
- He said additional budget cuts are likely as the state faces a potential loss of nearly $3 billion in revenue through the end of June and that it is likely that he will not sign any bills sent to him by the General Assembly that include mandated spending, the Daily Record reports. The governor did not say if that meant he would veto a multibillion-dollar proposal to increase annual spending on education and a number of tax bills passed to support that plan.
- “This would represent a 50% decrease in revenues over the next 90 days and up to a 15% reduction in revenues for the fiscal year, which ends on July 1,” Hogan said at an afternoon news conference at the State House in Annapolis, Bryan Renbaum writes in MarylandReporter.
- Carley Milligan of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that Hogan said the state will tap into and spend “much of, perhaps even all, of the state’s rainy day fund balance.”
- Bryan Sears also reports for the Daily Record that Maryland revenues could take an estimated hit of $185 million per month during a virus response that includes shuttering businesses. Sales tax losses could amount to 59% of all sales tax revenue, or $250 million per month, according to preliminary estimates provided by Andrew Schaufele, director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates at the Office of the Comptroller.
- Schaufele stressed that these preliminary stats are “the worst-case scenario,” will be updated regularly and assume that Hogan’s stay-at-home order lasts through June 30, Regina Holmes writes in MarylandReporter.
- Both income tax revenues and sales tax revenues are expected to fall by almost $1 billion before June 30, according to the new predictions. Other smaller pots of revenue, like lottery sales and court fees, have also contracted, Danielle Gaines reports for Maryland Matters.
JURISDICTIONS FACE BUDGET CRISES: With 2021 budget deliberations now under way, Baltimore and its suburban neighbors say they are trying to deal with grim revenue projections that point to millions in shortfalls. And that’s only after they weather unexpected costs and losses from the COVID-19 pandemic from March through June 30, Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal is reporting.
STATE ISSUES ZIP CODE BREAKDOWN OF CASES: There are 8,225 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Maryland, and the state is breaking down the numbers by ZIP code, Phil Davis reports for the Sun. It shows that Northwest Baltimore City has been hit extremely hard.
- Listing the eight ZIP codes that have been hardest hit, McKenna Oxenden writes that the state is now up to 8,225 cases overall, including concentrations in Silver Spring in Montgomery County; Prince George’s County and areas of Baltimore City and Baltimore County.
- Three of the five ZIP codes with the most COVID-19 cases in Maryland are in the Silver Spring area, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
- There are 408 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Frederick County, according to the Frederick County Health Department. Eleven infected people have died, Hannah Himes of the Frederick News Post.
- The state map listed 51 cases broken up between two Washington County ZIP codes, but Washington County government’s last update listed 85 cases in the county as of Saturday, Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
ALMOST HALF OF COVID-19 PATIENTS ARE BLACK: Maryland this week for the first time reported data on COVID-19 cases by race, and it showed that black people account for almost half of the state’s cases, and 53% of coronavirus deaths, though they make up less than a third of its total population, the Sun’s Scott Dance reports.
- The virus came to Maryland aboard an Egyptian vacation cruise, then touched down in the suburbs of D.C., and person-by-person began to creep. Those first weeks stamped the coronavirus as a threat largely to white suburbs, not the black neighborhoods of Baltimore. It’s a dangerous misconception that echoes today, Tim Prudente reports for the Sun.
FAMILIES WORRY ABOUT INMATES’ HEALTH: The number of coronavirus cases inside correctional facilities across Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia are rising, while inmates, staff and their families grow more concerned, Capital News Service’s Malika Budd writes in MarylandReporter. As of Thursday, there were 57 confirmed cases of the virus inside Maryland correctional facilities, including 10 inmates and 22 correctional officers.
- Every morning, Diallo Shalto sees how flagrantly he violates Maryland’s social-distancing rules. And there’s nothing he can do about it. Within several feet, he said, four other men sleep in bunks. Beyond them are another two dozen men on beds lined up inside an open room at Dorsey Run Correctional Facility. Dan Morse and Justin Jouvenal write about the situation for the Post.
OPINION: RELEASE NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS: In a column for Maryland Matters, Del. Jazz Lewis of Prince George’s County urges the state to begin releasing nonviolent offenders and juveniles from Maryland prisons so that they can social-isolate at home, with loved ones.
IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES IMPERILED: As the coronavirus sweeps across the country, immigrant communities are likely to be among the hardest hit. The pandemic could be particularly devastating for Langley Park, a neighborhood just seven miles from the White House where more than 80% of adults are not U.S. citizens — one of the highest rates in the United States — and many are undocumented, Michael Miller of the Post is reporting.
- Organizations and nonprofits in Frederick County are working to address the needs of the international community and the undocumented community during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Hannah Himes for the Frederick News Post.
THE STORM INSIDE: Sarah Kaplan of the Post offers a heart-rending and scientific explanation of what Covid-19 can do to a person’s lungs, expressly through the experiences of Maryland resident Keith Redding, who died of the illness, and his wife Dana.
- Heather Mongilio of the Frederick News Post writes about Gina Bennett, who had to say goodbye to her mother through a window of the Frederick Health and Rehabilitation Center, where she was being treated for the disease by the nursing home staff and her doctor.
ANALYSIS: 1st CLASS HEALTH SYSTEM AILING: In a news analysis for the Post, Robert McCartney looks at the region’s world-class hospitals as well as the fact that it is home to the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a growing biotech industry, and finds their current condition of major concern.
STATE’S JUNE 2 PRIMARY MOSTLY BY MAIL: Maryland’s June 2 primary will be conducted largely by mail, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday, although in-person voting centers will be offered on a limited basis, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
FROSTBURG CONSIDERS MAIL-IN VOTING: Frostburg’s mayor and City Council decided Thursday to explore holding its June 2 city election using mail-in ballots, Brandon Glass of the Cumberland Times News reports. When Gov. Larry Hogan through executive order moved the Maryland primary to the same date, it meant a work around would likely have to be considered.
DELEGATE HOPEFULS VETTED ON LINE: In a process that has been altered by COVID-19, two current Annapolis City Council members are among those running for a vacant seat in the Maryland House of Delegates that will be selected Thursday night in an all-digital interview and voting process of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee, Olivia Sanchez reports for the Capital Gazette.
OPINION: CHANGE ELECTION METHODS: Despite the spread of the lethal Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. political calendar continues to march forward. Unfortunately, those stuck solidly in the cement of continuing to conduct elections as in the past are putting lives at risk — literally, opines Barry Rascovar in his Political Maryland blog. In a sensible move, Maryland’s primary election balloting has been moved back to June 2.
BA CO SEEKS WHITE MARSH GM PLANT RE-OPENING: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. is asking the White House to pressure General Motors to reopen its White Marsh plant as it begins producing life-saving ventilators for increasing numbers of coronavirus patients, Jessica Anderson reports for the Sun.
MARYLANDERS WORRY FOR BAY HEALTH: In Maryland, Chesapeake Bay advocates are concerned that the new federal policy loosening requirements to enforce EPA pollution goals could harm the Chesapeake Bay, and the health of those who rely on it for their drinking water and their livelihood, Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters writes.