Statement on Proposed 2023-24 Harford County Budget
The proposed budget by County Executive Bob Cassilly contains a number of particularly notable provisions that are of concern to the residents of Harford County
The proposed budget by County Executive Bob Cassilly contains a number of particularly notable provisions that are of concern to the residents of Harford County. We urge citizens to call or email their County Council representatives to voice their concerns. In particular, Mr. Cassilly’s budget proposes the following cuts or flat spending to key agencies:
A $19 million (6%) reduction in the County’s contribution to the school budget that’s the “maintenance of effort” minimum state-mandated funding level
A $378K cut (7.7%) to the Planning and Zoning board — while proposing a comprehensive review of the zoning code in conjunction with the warehouse moratorium
A $737K (5.8%) cut to the Parks and Recreation budget
Flatlining of budgets for the public library system and for Harford County Community College
All of these will have direct impacts on the daily lives of Harford County Citizens.
In the case of the Harford County Public Schools budget, Mr. Cassilly claims credit for an increase in the overall amount of money the schools will receive. While it’s true that the schools will ultimately receive an increase in total funding, the increase is due exclusively to the State’s contribution. The County’s contribution declines by $19 million over the previous year, and the total allocation of $630 million represents a stingy 3.6% increase over 2023. Even if one assumes the most optimistic projections for 2023 inflation, this represents a cut in real spending. In short, by claiming credit for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future after having voted against it, then claiming credit for work the State is doing, Mr. Cassilly scrawls in vivid color the Republican mantra of “vote no and claim the dough.”
The County Council is holding public hearings on the budget at 7 p.m. on May 4 and May 10. We urge you to show up and support the school system, the library system, and other social services that are on the chopping block. And be sure to email your Councilperson to let them know your concerns!
Finally, Mr. Cassilly has been quick to blame his choices on irresponsible decisions made by previous Republican administrations. We agree. It is past time for Harford County to elect a Democratic County Executive whose budget prioritizes the whole county — not just the coffers of his Republican donors and their allies.
You can be a part of that change by volunteering with the Harford County Democratic Central Committee as we gear up for the 2024 and 2026 election cycles!