Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young began a public campaign Wednesday to override Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's veto of legislation he proposed to create a multi-million-dollar fund for youth programs.
In a statement sent to Baltimore residents, Young encouraged citizens to pressure their council members to stand with him.
"In less than two weeks, the City Council will make history," the letter states. "For the first time in 34 years, members will vote on whether to override a mayoral veto that threatens millions of dollars intended to improve the lives of our most vulnerable children."
Criticizing the legislation as fiscally irresponsible, Rawlings-Blake on Monday vetoed Young's bill, which would create a special account in Baltimore's budget for youth programs.
The City Council voted 14-0 last month to approve the legislation. That's more than enough votes to override the mayor's veto and put the charter amendment before voters in November.
"The mayor believes we're doing the best we can with the limited amount of money at our disposal. I believe her convictions to be sincere and I have zero interest in questioning her motives," Young's letter states. "We have a fundamental disagreement, however, about how best to accomplish our shared goal of providing students with a brighter future. ... My colleagues on the Council and I believe that Baltimore's commitment to our children should go beyond providing the most basic of needs."
The Children and Youth Fund would earmark 3 percent of the city's discretionary spending for programs for children and teens. That would amount to $30 million in the current budget.
Rawlings-Blake said earmarking a pot of money is bad fiscal policy that would tie the hands of future mayors. She warned that the city is facing a $75 million deficit in the fiscal year that begins July 1.