Photo: (L to R) Sen. James Robey (D-Dist. 13) and Del. Murray Levy (D-Dist. 28) discuss the budget with chamber of commerce executives from around the state.
Maryland Sen. James Robey (D-Dist. 13) and Del. Murray Levy (D-Dist. 28) spoke to the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Tuesday about the governor’s proposed budget and their expectations for the next year.
Levy said that $2.4 billion, or 8 percent of spending, has been cut from the budget in the last year, and that the 2010 expenditure budget is even less than the 2009 and 2008 budgets.
“We’re still just in briefings now, but every [budget] briefing we sit in on…it just paints a bleaker picture,” Robey said.
Levy said the Transportation Trust Fund and the Transportation Authority are being hard hit this year. Robey also said the cuts being made are troubling, particularly to education. Both said they are expecting some changes to be made to the current proposal.
“We’re going to take a hard look at the governor’s budget to see if we can tweak some of it. The governor was very agreeable to any changes we could make, not laying off so many people or cutting education funding so much,” he said. “These are very difficult times and everyone is going to get hurt.”
Levy added that $2 billion to $3 billion may be coming to Maryland in a federal stimulus package over the next two years, but the exact amount and form of the package has yet to be determined.
Both Levy and Robey said that while the immediate future looks bleak, the economy will turn around eventually.
“This country is very good with these things—when things are at their worst, we tend to be at our best and we’re very good at turning things around quickly. This one may take a little longer, but I’m optimistic,” Levy said.