Today, the full body of Maryland’s General Assembly heard from Governor O’Malley about his vision for Maryland, and his interpretation of the past year. The Governor stated in his speech, “Everything has a cost…” Well, the question Marylander’s are asking is, “How much?”
His proposed budget holds our deficit at $1.2 billion while actually increasing spending by over $2 billion. There are several fund raids conducted from the Transportation Trust Fund ($120 million) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund ($90 million) with additional tax increases to replace the raided funds. At the same time, the governor plans to increase our debt through the issuance of bonds. This will further push our debt ceiling to the edge.
We cannot afford bonuses for all state employees ($750.00), nor the five additional paid holidays he is offering. We cannot afford to continue cutting Medicaid reimbursements while, at the same time, taking our enrollment up over a million Marylander’s (20% of our population). We simply cannot afford to extend ourselves at a time when the revenues from our citizens are contracting.
Today the governor spoke about the state creating winners and losers when it comes to business and industry. If you are about “green” jobs, you’re a winner; if not, you’re a loser. When the state predicates tax incentives and government backed funding sources to favored industry, it is akin to the king extending the scepter to whomever he wishes. Wind farms may be a great idea, but they need to stand on their own as a business endeavor. When the governor talks about “investments”, he should be talking about the private sector, not tax dollars.
We heard about the governors desire to place a moratorium on septic systems in rural developments, with no regard of the chilling effect this could have on land values, private property rights, and development on the Eastern Shore. He stated that “where we eat, sleep, and live…” is affecting our environment as if this, too, is something the government should control.
The governor stated we were “moving forward”, while his budget anchors us to our indebtedness. He called us a grand “experiment in self government”, while he offers only additional regulations, fees, and taxes on the business community. He says, “It’s all about jobs”, as if the government is the one who creates those jobs. The “ghost of disconnect” continues to haunt Maryland policy.
The bottom line is the governor expressed more visible outrage over the recent power outages in Prince George’s County than he did about the dismal state of our economy, and our failure to address critical budget areas when time was of the essence.
Governor O’Malley wants us to move toward a “knowledge based” economy. Well, that begins with a wisdom based budget, and that was sorely missing from the State of the State Address I heard today.