Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan escalated a long-simmering power struggle with state lawmakers Wednesday, refusing to spend money the legislature had earmarked for dozens of programs, including rape-kit testing and building schools.
The Republican governor’s decision not to spend $245 million — the largest sum he has ever withheld from an approved state budget — could affect more than 70 initiatives statewide and is the first tangible demonstration of his recent promise to “battle” the Democratic-majority General Assembly on spending.
Hogan said the state could not afford the entire tab for those programs, some of which he supports, and that he wanted to save the money in case an economic downturn occurs. At the same time, he pledged to cut spending elsewhere to pay for a handful of the affected programs, including rape-kit testing.
Had Hogan decided to release the earmarked funds, the money could have been spent starting Monday, when the fiscal year began.