State Roundup: Moore to address shortfalls with ‘strategic, targeted’ budget cuts; Bay earns C+, highest rating in 22 years; audit finds state prison industries failed to collect payments

State Roundup: Moore to address shortfalls with ‘strategic, targeted’ budget cuts; Bay earns C+, highest rating in 22 years; audit finds state prison industries failed to collect payments

Gov. Wes Moore says he'll repair the budget gap with strategic and data driven budget cuts. Photo by Karolina Kaboompics: https://www.pexels.com/photo/us-dollars-on-marble-4968666/

MOORE TO ADDRESS SHORTFALLS WITH BUDGET CUTS: Gov. Wes Moore on Wednesday will release a plan outlining his preference for solving Maryland’s multibillion-dollar financial shortfalls through budget cuts rather than raising taxes. The Democratic governor’s declaration will be the first time he’s specifically proposed “targeted and strategic spending cuts” although his $63.1 billion state budget proposal earlier this year included trims in areas like higher education. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

COMMENTARY: SPENDING CUTS TO BE TARGETED, STRATEGIC: This morning, my administration submitted a plan to make targeted and strategic spending cuts and grow our economy while simultaneously protecting the programs and projects that Marylanders care about most. We’ve taken a disciplined, data-driven approach that prioritizes investment in areas that connect Marylanders with employment and build new pathways to work, wages, and wealth for all. In coordination with our partners on the Board of Public Works, we’re increasing funding for two areas that will make Maryland more affordable and more competitive: Health care and childcare. Gov. Wes Moore/The Baltimore Sun.

BAY EARNS C+, HIGHEST GRADE IN 22 YEARS: The Chesapeake Bay earned a C+, its highest grade since 2002, on a report card from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The bay overall, as well as 15 individual regions, were scored based on indicators such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and oxygen levels; the condition of organisms at the bottom of the bay; water clarity; microalgae biomass; and aquatic grasses. Marcus Dieterle/Baltimore Fishbowl.

  • Of the 15 regions of the Chesapeake, 11 showed “improved” scores and five regions showed “significant improving trends,” according to UMCES. “There is still much to do, but this is a strong indicator of progress,” EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz said in a statement. Cody Boteler/The Baltimore Banner.

AUDIT: STATE PRISON INDUSTRIES FAILED TO COLLECT MILLION IN PAYMENTS: Maryland Correctional Enterprises, which produces and sells goods using prison labor, failed to pursue millions in payments it was owed for the goods and services it sold last year, according to a recent state audit. The Office of Legislative Audits said that of $12.9 million in accounts receivable the agency held as of June 30, 2023, about $7 million had been due for more than 90 days – with some accounts languishing for more than a year. Elijah Pittman/Maryland Matters.

DEL. ANDERTON TO LEAVE HOUSE FOR JOB IN MOORE ADMIN: Another seat in the House of Delegates is about to come open. Del. Carl Anderton (R-Wicomico) is expected to submit his resignation this week and accept an appointment in the administration of Gov. Wes Moore (D). Anderton is expected to become the director of rural strategy within the state Department of Commerce, according to multiple sources. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

MOORE CHOOSES LOYALTY TO BIDEN: Less than 48 hours after President Biden’s halting debate performance launched Democrats into a panic, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore was in an awkward position. Pundits and party leaders had floated his name as a possible Biden replacement and Moore, a rising Democratic star and one of the party’s most persuasive speakers, had to decide what message to give a hall full of anxious Black activists in Wisconsin. The nation’s lone Black governor chose loyalty, selling 81-year-old Biden as the future. Days later, Moore chose loyalty again as he stood in front of the White House and told reporters: “The president has always had our backs. We’re going to have his back as well.” Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

B’MORE STILL MUM ON HOW IT WILL SPEND OPIOID SETTLEMENT: Baltimore has received the $45 million that pharmaceutical company Allergan agreed to pay as part of the city’s lawsuit over the opioid epidemic, but officials have not yet said how they plan to use the bulk of the money, or who will be making those decisions. The Department of Finance is processing the settlement, the mayor’s spokesperson Bryan Doherty said in an email. More information will be announced soon, he said. Alissa Zhu/The Baltimore Banner.

REPORT: ALL SCHOOLS LACK TRAINING IN BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR HIRING: A state report found that public and private school officials lacked training on background checks, which allowed a former Baltimore County teacher with red flags to be hired and rehired. Paul Gessler/WJZ-TV.

FORMER MO CO SUPER TAKES NEW POST AT UM: Former Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Monifa McKnight, who resigned amid the Maryland school system’s handling of accusations of bullying and sexual harassment, has a new gig. She will become the University of Maryland’s inaugural dean’s fellow and superintendent in residence, the university announced this week. The new position is in effect starting Aug. 23. Thomas Robertson/WTOP-FM.

  • The university touted McKnight’s more than 25 years of experience in school administration and instructional leadership, noting that as MCPS superintendent, she oversaw the state’s largest school district with an enrollment of more than 160,000 students. Staff/MoCo 360.
  • The position is new to the college. Through it, McKnight will advise staff members from the College of Education and focus on core issues affecting public education, including teacher recruitment and retention. She plans to support and grow the college’s partnerships — including with lawmakers, other parts of the university, and public and private schools. Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.

B’MORE TAX CUT BALLOT PROPOSAL REJECTED: Proponents of a ballot measure to cut Baltimore’s property tax rate in half say the city’s top election official was wrong to reject their proposal for inclusion on the November ballot and vowed to challenge his decision in court. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

  • The Baltimore City Director of Elections said in a letter to proponents Tuesday that the proposal is deficient because Maryland law makes clear that only Baltimore City elected officials can set the property tax rate — meaning the rates can’t be altered from the ballot. Adam Willis/The Baltimore Banner.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

cynthiaprairie@gmail.com
https://www.chestertelegraph.org/

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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