Maryland board approves $82 million in budget cuts
The Board of Public Works approved $82 million in budget cuts Wednesday proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan to help close a gap left by revenues that have fallen as much as $225 million short of expectations. The three-member board, which has the power to make cuts midway through the budget year, voted unanimously to approve the package. It was a far more modest trim to a $43 billion budget than some the board made during the recession. State Budget Secretary David R. Brinkley minimized the impact of the reductions, saying that for some programs, including Medicaid, the state would fill in with off-budget funds. In other cases, he said, the cuts reflect declining caseloads in such areas as juvenile justice. One of the largest cuts will be absorbed by the University System of Maryland, which took an $18.3 million decrease and is expected to lose 101 positions. Chancellor Robert Caret told the board that the system received adequate notice to plan for the cuts and has been able to bank enough vacant positions to avoid layoffs.
Bacterial outbreak closes P.G. hospital unit
Prince George’s Hospital Center said Wednesday it is temporarily closing its neonatal intensive care unit and transferring five babies to other hospitals because of a bacterial outbreak. The decision was made after two babies tested positive for the bacterium Pseudomonas. The bacterium is found widely in soil, water and other parts of the environment. While it doesn’t harm most healthy people, it can lead to illness in babies with health problems. This is the second closing of the NICU because of Pseudomonas. In Augus, it was closed and testing found the bacterium was coming from the water supply system feeding the NICU. The NICU re-opened Oct. 4 after treatment of the water supply system and