Shortchanging Maryland's Land Preservation Program
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley pledged to "fully fund" the state's land preservation program when he ran for office, but then diverted $693 million from the dedicated land preservation fund to help solve a budget crisis after the recession hit.
The O'Malley Administration borrowed about $494 million to pay back some of these missing Program Open Space funds and continue buying land through the economic downturn. Lawmakers have pledged to pay back more in future years.
But some conservationists worry that the governor's budget for the year starting July 1 continues an increasing trend not to use the state's dedicated funding source for preserving land (the state's real estate transfer tax) for the purpose it was created in 1969.