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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Johnson says county faces budget shortfall

(Posted 31 Oct 2007)
Pr. George's Chief Says County Faces Budget Shortfall.
Post, 31 Oct 2007 (Helderman).
Prince George's County must cut almost $48 million from its current budget, in part because revenue from taxes tied to the declining real estate market will probably be down at least 25 percent this year, County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) said this week.
Surprisingly, and unlike Gov. O'Malley and his Democratic associates in the General Assembly, Johnson and Council Chair Camille Exum (D-7) seem to accept their responsibilities, did not whine about needing more taxes, and told the Post that they think they can cut or postpone some spending and manage the problem--as long as O'Malley does not cut their state aid.
County Council Chairman Camille Exum (D-Seat Pleasant) said the council to examine Johnson's proposals and might have some suggestions of its own. She said members have long prided themselves on their stewardship of the budget and now have the chance to demonstrate it.
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Johnson, who announced Oct. 19 that he plans to release funds to the county's troubled hospital system within two weeks, said he can fulfill that pledge even with the budget downturn. However, he said he is not yet certain whether the county can afford all $12 million in this year's budget for the hospitals, which are managed by a private not-for-profit company.

"We don't know if we can give all that we promised, but nobody's getting all they were promised," he said. "We're living in tight times."

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