Baker Warns of ‘Tough Choices’ in Economic Outlook for Prince George’s

"We're down to the bone," the Prince George’s County executive says.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker says that the county must brace itself for a projected $126 million deficit in the coming fiscal budget for 2013.

Baker and officials from county government on the proposed $2.5 billion budget.

The budget represents a 2.7 percent decline from the fiscal 2012 budget. Baker told a small crowd at Thursday that a decline in property tax revenues was largely to blame for the deficit of $126 million. Last year, he said, the deficit was only $77 million.

“A lot of that has to do with a decrease in residential property [value],” he said. “It means we have tough choices that have to be made.”

Baker said that the budget remains focused on his goal of funding public safety in the county and other agencies that contribute to the quality of life for residents.

Still, residents and county workers are trying to maintain a slice of the budget.

This week, county council members inquired the Baker administration about raises for county employees who haven’t seen increases in years. Baker said the current economic climate just doesn’t support that.

 “It’s a matter of where do we get the dollars,” he said. “We’re down to the bone.”

 Residents that support the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System also asked Baker to hold off on making cuts after years of underfunding.

“I sincerely hope protecting the very fine library system is a part of your job,” said Marsha Voigt of the Friends of the Greenbelt Library.

Baker will continue holding budget forums throughout the county in the coming weeks. Citizens interested in testifying at these budget hearings need to call 301-952-4547 to sign up. Citizens who pre-register will be given priority during budget hearings. 

Schedule of FY 2013 Public Budget Hearings:

Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 7:00 PM:     Harmony Hall, 10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington

Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 7:00 PM:     Prince George’s Community College, Rennie Forum, 301 Largo Road, Largo

AndThenAgain January 27, 2012 at 09:52 PM
“We’re down to the bone.” ________________________ That implies--falsely--that the county (and the state) have *been* cutting already. Since the 2012 budget at both levels was higher than 2011; and 2011 was higher than any prior year AFAIK; I find that hard to believe. This state and county are so fiscally dysfunctional they pretend that putting off the regular *increases* in spending constitutes "cutting to the bone." That paltry restraint is better described as obesity maintenance, not cutting, and certainly not cutting "to the bone." Now that they may have to *actually* CUT a *small* amount (2.7%!) from their bloated budgets, Baker and cohorts can only whine and moan, because they cannot win friends by giving away more revenue and more projects than last year. This is how gross fiscal indiscipline becomes quite normal. Look, listen and laugh as the squealing gets progressively louder as we go further into the budget season.
Michael B. Cron January 28, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Things will get better when the county stops treating small business owners as cash cows while offering national and large local chain stores a free ride to entice them to set up shop and at the same time out-price local smaller business thus causing them undue hardship forcing them to shut their doors. The tax base will continue to dwindle. This country was founded and financed by small business. At the rate this is going, small business will cease to exist in this country in a few short years. Then who will pay??
Nick January 31, 2012 at 05:01 AM
May I suggest a place to start? The salaries of the highest paid county council in the state.


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