South Sudan Trump Budget

President Donald Trump arrives to speak Feb. 24 at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill.

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland lawmakers are expressing grave concern about President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget.

With deep cuts to environmental programs, the National Institutes of Health and the size of the federal work force, several local programs — from the park service to the National Cancer Institute at Fort Detrick to Maryland Legal Aid — could be hit.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-8th, called the budget outline released by the president on Thursday a “savage attack on working families, science, health, arts and the environment.”

Rep. John Delaney, D-6th, has called on Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and others to speak out against the proposed cuts.

“Donald Trump’s economically illiterate budget is an attack on Maryland and a disaster for our economy,” Delaney said. “Every elected official in Maryland should be marching to the White House to object to this budget. This budget guts the National Institutes of Health, eliminates federal funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and eliminates federal economic development grants to Western Maryland. There’s no way of spinning this: from Cumberland to the Chesapeake to St. Mary’s, this budget is an assault on Maryland’s economy, environment and quality of life.”

Delaney said he was calling on Hogan in particular, since he is in the same party as the president, “to forcefully reject this budget.”

Hogan’s office indicated they would wait to see how the final budget numbers shake out as the proposal winds through Congress — where it is certain to be amended.

“If any of these budget proposals ever become law, we will take a serious look at how to address them during our budget process next year. The governor will continue fighting and advocating on behalf of all Marylanders,” Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D), a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees, said the budget hurts the poor the most.

“The president’s budget is great if you’re a person like Donald Trump who flies to Mar-a-Lago every weekend at taxpayer expense — but it betrays the Americans who feel left behind and forgotten,” he said. “And for the people who supported him, especially in rural areas of our country, they are hit particularly hard.”

The budget blueprint released this week outlines Trump’s $1.1 trillion plan for discretionary spending, which makes up about a third of the federal budget. A full budget is expected in May.

Here’s how the federal budget could affect Frederick County:

Federal workforce

The impact on the federal workforce could be a mixed-bag for Frederick County, while lawmakers said the outlook statewide was negative.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly report showed that there were 146,513 total federal workers in Maryland as of September, including 3,684 in Frederick County.

The Department of the Army — which stands to grow as the result of a 10 percent percent increase in the country’s military spending — has the greatest number of Frederick County-based workers: 1,895.

The second-highest number of county-based federal workers are connected to the Department of Health and Human Services, which has some offices on base at Detrick, but also off base. There are 389 HHS employees based in Frederick County, according to OPM. The budget cuts the Health and Human Services funding by 18 percent.

For the state as a whole, Delaney pointed to a Moody’s Analytics report which concluded that the budget proposal could increase unemployment in the capital region by 1.8 percent, reduce personal income by 3.5 percent and lower home prices.

Environmental programs

The deepest cuts proposed in Trump’s budget are to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal would slash 31 percent of the agency’s current budget and eliminate approximately 3,200 jobs.

Among the cuts is the elimination of the Chesapeake Bay Program, which awarded the state of Maryland $9 million in 2016.

The program coordinates Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration and conservation efforts throughout the mid-Atlantic, including efforts to plant trees throughout the watershed to reduce polluted runoff into the bay.

National parks

The budget includes a 12 percent decrease to the Department of the Interior, home to the National Park Service.

There are five National Park Service sites in Frederick County: Catoctin Mountain Park, C&O Canal National Historical Park, Monocacy National Battlefield, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

For the roughly 9,500 acres of federal land in the county, Frederick County government receives roughly a $25,000 annual payment from the federal government in lieu of property taxes.

Trump’s budget blueprint says payment levels will be reduced, but remain in line with the amounts paid over the past decade.

Addiction treatment

The proposed budget retains $500 million in funding for addiction treatment programs passed by lawmakers in 2016 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.

Nationally, the opioid epidemic took more than 33,000 lives in 2015, according to the Trump administration. Fifty-one people died of heroin overdoses in Frederick County last year.

Community programs

The proposed budget eliminates funding for the Community Development Block Grant program as part of a 13.2 percent decrease to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In fiscal 2016, Maryland received $7.2 million from the program. Additional funding is provided to Maryland’s Entitlement Communities under the program, which include Frederick.

As an entitlement community, the City of Frederick receives an annual award directly from HUD. Over the past 10 years, the city has primarily designated its Community Development Block Grant entitlement funding for affordable housing, revitalization and public service-related activities. In the latest expenditure report available online from July 2014 to June 2015, the city used $709,380.75 in grants.

Maryland counties, cities and towns received more than $44 million in Community Development Block Grants in 2015, with another $8.8 million in Community Services Block Grants to community action agencies that work to alleviate poverty.

The Community Development Network of Maryland is pushing the General Assembly, which adjourns April 10, to pass legislation that would establish a new state Community Development Fund that would be supported by a property transfer fee.

Meals on Wheels

One of the many anti-poverty programs within the Community Development Block Grants is Meals on Wheels, which is also cut entirely.

About 6.2 percent of the county’s Meals on Wheels budget — $21,763 — comes from the federal government. In February, the Meals on Wheels program served 178 clients, according to Frederick County government.

Legal Aid and Heartly House

The budget also proposes eliminating funding for independent agencies, including the federal Legal Services Corporation.

Maryland Legal Aid receives about $3 million to $4 million a year in funding from the federal government. There are 14 Legal Aid branches in Maryland — including a branch in downtown Frederick — that close an average 6,000 cases per year. 

Staff writer Samantha Hogan contributed to this story.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(8) comments

saogirl52

A lot of that money gained by Trump in those budget cuts will be to pay for a 30 foot wall separating us and Mexico. The wall that "Mexico would pay for" is going to cost somewhere between $12 and $21 billion to build. And then we'll have to pay for forces to keep an eye on it. Who knows how much that will add to the budget. I don'the think Trump gives a hoot about the deficit. He wants a wall he can put his name on. And if he was so concerned about unnecessary expenditures, why has he forced the tax payer to ante up $10 million in two months so he can go to FL and play golf every weekend? Plus cost us millions more so that his son can stay in school in NY. Anyone who thinks that Trump cares about anyone but himself is downright delusional.

petersamuel

So a "Frederick focus" involves quoting a heap of leftist hysteria and propaganda from Dem Party pols, and not a single Republican or independent quoted. That's a Frederick focus???? Frederick which has elected 5 Republicans out of eight in the Maryland General Assembly. I welcome a shift of taxpayer money to defense so we are better prepared to deal with North Korea and Iran, nasty regimes pledged to destroy us while arming with nuclear weapons. For me that's a higher priority than cleaning up Chesapeake Bay, school lunch money etc.

kimberlymellon

Is that because you presume that you are more likely to die from a nuclear attack than cancer, biological viruses or tainted drinking water PSam?

marylandmirage

Or ever need to use Meals on Wheels or school lunch programs for a relative or yourself?

jerseygrl42

can't keep running up ugly federal deficits like we saw under obama with $10 TRILLION added to our children's and grandchildren's debt...need to live with in our means and raising taxes will only further diminish the economy as we saw the past 8 years

DickD

Welcome to the Republican DonTCare budget.

marylandmirage

I could almost agree with that, except "Welcome to the Republican Don't Care about the less fortunate" budget.

secpol1970

Better than a democrat skies the limit spending budget with no way to pay it off.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.