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Maryland faith community opposes 'doomsday'

Budgets and BudgetingMaryland General AssemblyUniversity System of Maryland

We write as members and leaders of Maryland's faith community. We are glad that a special session of the Maryland General Assembly to resolve the state's budget impasse now seems likely. We cannot stress strongly enough how vital it is to fashion a full fix to the doomsday budgetary scenario

We each witness in our own congregations and communities the harm the Great Recession has wrought. Now is decidedly not the time to slash more from a state budget that already has left families and communities reeling.

If the doomsday budget were implemented, Maryland's educational system at both the K-12 and college levels would be especially hard hit. The $128 million taken from our public schools plus a 10 percent reduction to higher education equal a terrible disinvestment in our youth and their futures. We know first-hand how tenuous a path so many youth have. As noted by University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwin in a recent op-ed ("Doomsday for Md. higher education," April 24), giving them even less is unconscionable.

Public libraries, public safety, funds for foster care and disabled persons — all suffer reductions in the doomsday budget. We cannot afford to allow such cutbacks.

When the legislature reconvenes, we urge that the full measure of cuts made in the doomsday budget be reversed. We also urge restoring the higher tax on little cigars and smokeless tobacco approved during the legislative session but lost during its final hours. Doing so would save thousands of lives and combat youth addiction to tobacco before it starts.

If Maryland is to be both great and good, it must steer away from the doomsday path without delay, and in full measure.

Arthur C. Abramson, Bishop Douglas Miles, Rev. Fred Weimert, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, co-chair of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), and president of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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