Maryland Gov. Wes Moore proposed nearly $150 million in budget cuts Wednesday, aiming to shift funds to critical health care and child care programs his administration says are key to boosting the state’s economy.

The Moore-Miller administration will pitch the cuts to the state spending board for final approval next week.

Meanwhile, here’s what Marylanders need to know about the announcement.

What did the governor change?

The Moore-Miller administration proposed to save nearly $150 million by making targeted cuts to the state budget. The move will require a host of state agencies to tighten their financial belts in one way or another. This could mean less money for a government program or hitting pause on hiring staff until later in the year.

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Under the plan, the comptroller’s office, for example, loses $1.1 million that would have gone to hiring staff sooner in the fiscal year. The Maryland Department of Health faced hiring delays and programming cuts totaling more than $26 million.

Why does the state need to make these cuts?

Since the pandemic has ended, people on Medicaid have had to again prove their eligibility for the federal- and state-funded health care subsidy. It’s been difficult for states to predict how many people will prove they can stay on Medicaid, but the number of people eligible has been more than the state’s initial estimate. As of May 31, there are 1.68 million Marylanders on Medicaid, according to the health department.

There’s also been a sharp spike in demand for child care subsidies through the state-sponsored Child Care Scholarship Program as more parents have gone back to work.

When Moore took office in January 2023, about 24,000 children were enrolled. That number jumped to 33,000 by the end of 2023 and Moore administration officials predicted — and put enough money in the current budget for ― up to 40,000 children. And they’ve already hit that number.

How will this help Medicaid and child care assistance?

The $150 million in savings from the cuts will be set aside and eventually reassigned to the two programs. Though the cuts can legally be made now, they can’t be moved over to the other programs until January, when the General Assembly is back in session and lawmakers fully open the budget books again.

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Will this help the state’s long-term budget shortfall?

No. This action is a reshuffling of just $150 million, a small fraction of the annual $63 billion budget. The state budget is forecast to be out of balance in future years, as revenues are flat but the needs of government programs are increasing, particularly for public education.

Without action, the gap would grow to $3 billion by 2028, but that won’t happen because the budget has to be balanced each year. Both Democratic and Republican officials have acknowledged they’ll need to have a serious conversation about how to fix the long-term budget gap.

Why is this happening now? Didn’t lawmakers just finish the budget?

Moore may be trying to set a tone ahead of next year’s budget debate.

Tuesday’s announcement was focused on cutting expenses to maintain essential services, and in an op-ed Moore wrote that the state needs to make “tough decisions about how we spend what we have.”

House and Senate lawmakers disagreed earlier this year on whether to begin closing the projected multiyear budget gap through spending cuts or additional taxes, fees and revenues. After heated debate, they settled on a balanced budget but added some tax and fee increases, which Moore signed.

State finance laws allow the chief executive to take another look and cut back certain programs as long as he doesn’t wipe them by more than 25%.