A local organization is fighting back against the state's
is one of more than 50 organizations to sign a letter protesting the budget—which would cause $512 million in cuts—sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley, Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch on Thursday, according to a news release. In the letter, the groups urge legislators to reconvene at a special session and work out a new budget.
If the doomsday budget is implemented, the Annapolis nonprofit, which services individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, would have to go another year without giving its direct care staff an increase in salary.
"It makes it a real challenge for the staff not to receive an increase," said Rick Callahan, deputy director for the organization. "It makes life really hard for them."
Callahan said it is critical for the Arc to support its staff.
"Having a stable work force helps keep up the quality of care," he said.
O'Malley, Miller and Busch are considering the possibility of a special session to tackle the budget in May, The Baltimore Sun reports.
If lawmakers don't take action, the doomsday budget will take effect on July 1.
The signatories include education, labor and economic security organizations from across the state, according to the release.
The full text of the letter can be read below:
We urge you to come together and resolve Maryland’s ongoing budgetary crisis now. The doomsday budget cuts, and the need for more cuts in the future because of a failure to address our structural budget deficit today, are not a path that will move Maryland forward. We cannot afford to shortchange our public schools, health care, public safety, higher education, and state programs and workforce—the very things that Marylanders depend on every day. Balancing a budget while sacrificing our state’s critical programs, services, and quality schools will only harm the well-being and future of our citizens, communities, and state.
We are heartened that you have met together recently, and that a special session is likely to occur. It is our fervent hope that the result will be to step back from the brink of the Doomsday Budget, and to fully fund the programs and services that Maryland depends on to chart a successful future for our state and its citizens.
On behalf of the tens of thousands of concerned Marylanders whom we represent, we ask you to raise the necessary revenues in a special session to fully fund the public programs and services that make our state a great place to start a business and raise a family.
The stakes are terribly high.
Leaving the doomsday cuts in place would mean increased class sizes, fewer educational resources, laid off teachers, higher college tuition, 500 state employee layoffs in 2013, collateral cuts made by other employers who fail to receive state funds, less money for foster care, less funding to help the disabled, stressed public safety budgets, and many more negative consequences. These cuts would come on top of approximately $2 billion in state budget reductions since FY 2009 and $375 million other reductions for 2013.
On an individual level, implementing the doomsday budget would mean that suddenly students would find that they cannot afford to return to college, breadwinners would be without work, and the community aid organizations that help them would have higher caseloads but fewer dollars. But even then, we would still face more funding limits and cuts in next year’s budget.
Thank you for working through these issues and making the welfare of our state and its residents your top priority.