Marylanders Protest 'Doomsday Budget'
At a Wednesday press conference, a representative of the Annapolis Police Department was among those who shared stories about the potential impact of the budget.
The "doomsday budget" clock is ticking and some Marylanders are urging state lawmakers to get back to work.
Earlier this month, the Maryland legislature passed a budget that would require $512 million in cuts. Those working in some of the areas hardest hit by cuts shared their stories at a press conference on Wednesday at the Maryland State Education Association in Annapolis.
Speakers included representatives from law enforcement, public schools and other systems from across the state.
Mary Pat Whitely, a crime scene technician with the Annapolis Police Department, said residents may see a spike in crime as a result of the budget. She said her department is already understaffed in positions that are essential and the impact "could be catastrophic to the general public."
"Without these resources, our challenges will continue to grow," Whitely said. "We are asking—no, begging—the governor and the legislators to come back and finish the job."
Kathleen Carmack, a social studies teacher at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick County, said she is concerned that the doomsday budget would create larger classroom sizes. Because Carmack teaches a smaller class now, she said she was able to identify a case of suspected child abuse just this past week and report it to the proper authorities. She fears that such issues would be more difficult to identify in a larger classroom.
"These cuts would be deeply detrimental to our school, our employees and our community," Carmack said. "We have already seen how cuts to our schools can negatively impact our students, yet that's exactly what this doomsday budget would do."
Tokunbo Okulaja, a junior at the University of Maryland who is majoring in government and politics, came out to fight for the opportunity to finish her college education. As a child raised by a single parent, Okulaja said she relies on financial aid from the school and scholarships from her state legislatures to pay for college, both of which would be severely impacted if the doomsday budget is implemented.
"I work hard to get excellent grades because I do not take the opportunity for a college education lightly," Okulaja said. "My goal is to be able to contribute to my community and state using the knowledge and experience I received at the University of Maryland."
At the conference, a “doomsday clock” was unveiled in the form of a large screen that provided a countdown to the potential implementation of the budget. The screen flashed messages stating how Marylanders would be affected by the budget cuts, such as reduced hours at the library.
Legislators have made no announcements about an emergency session to amend the doomsday budget. They have until July 1 before the budget goes into effect.
How might the doomsday budget affect you? Tell us in the comments.