‘Significant’ Budget Shortfall Projected in Baltimore City

September 21, 2011

With Baltimore County attempting to cut 200 positions in hopes of saving $15 million for next budget year, city officials say they’re also eying a dire budget year.

Ryan O’Doherty, spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said city budget analysts are predicting a “significant” shortfall this budget cycle – which will cause the mayor to make “difficult reductions” to city government when the budget process begins next spring.

“We expect to have budget projections that show a significant shortfall,” he said. “Without getting into specifics, there will be very difficult reductions in this budget.”

The city has frequently faced structural deficits in recent years. Last year’s shortfall was $65 million; the year before, the deficit was $121 million, O’Doherty said.

“Again, it’s largely as a result of declining revenues and rising fixed costs,” he said of the projected shortfall.

O’Doherty said low income and property tax revenue, combined with the “ever-increasing” cost of employee benefits and prescription drug costs have created the deficit.

“Every year it gets more difficult because the year before you already cut everything you thought you could cut,” he said.

He said he expected the city’s budget office to have specific projections within a month.

-Luke Broadwater

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