Prince George’s Co. unveils bigger budget with no new taxes — but there will be some pain

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks unveiled her proposed budget for the 2025 fiscal year on Friday afternoon. It’s slightly bigger than last year, by 1%, and includes more money for schools and public safety. But that means less money for just about everyone else.

“This year, we are managing a projected budget shortfall of $171 million,” Alsobrooks said. “We’ve made very difficult decisions to freeze hiring for over 800 positions within the county. This year’s budget includes cuts to almost every county agency except for public safety and the Prince George’s County Public School system.

“Most departments will see a decrease in dollars year over year,” she added. “And some programs and initiatives will see reductions.”

In addition to the hiring freeze, the county is deferring equipment replacement and delaying capital projects. It puts on paper warnings that county leaders have been issuing about upcoming budgets for several months.

“We knew that this was coming,” Alsobrooks told reporters after the presentation. “And I’m telling you now, we’re forecasting we’re going to have an even greater deficit next year. So we have been talking about discipline. We were talking about it last year. We’re talking about it again this year.”

During her speech, she brought up major economic development projects the county is banking on to generate more revenue in the future, including the redevelopment along the Blue Line Corridor, the old Cheverly hospital site and the FBI’s new headquarters, which is slated for Greenbelt.

“We’ve got to grow business and encourage businesses to come here,” she said. “That’s been the challenge we’ve had. … We do not have here enough business.”

In all, about 70% of the county’s tax revenue comes from its residents and the rest from commercial taxes. In Montgomery County, it’s the opposite. This has long frustrated county council Vice Chair Sidney Harrison.

“It’s so very important,” said Harrison. “That’s what we’re trying to garner.”

Council Chair Jolene Ivey said the legislative branch’s priorities mirror the ones laid out by Alsobrooks. “We just need to make sure that we actually are meeting the needs that are listed,” Ivey said.

She cautioned that as her colleagues begin holding budget hearings over the coming months, you can expect to hear terms like “fiscally conservative” and “being responsible” again and again.

“One thing that we all need to be able to do is say no,” said Ivey. “Sometimes you have to say no to your friends.”

And Harrison said the council will have to have honest conversations with county residents and agencies.

“It really is a collective effort about how we’re sacrificing to get through these tough times,” he said. “And then looking at ways as well, as to what we were spending on before, do we really need that or do we really need to be more effective with spending dollars elsewhere?”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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