Way to Hang Together, MoCo
I think nearly all of us have scratched our head in bemusement at the failure of the Montgomery County delegation to stick up for its constituents (see here | here. While the Baltimore County delegation is nearly legendary for hanging together on issues that affect Baltimore County, Montgomery County’s delegation is famous for being unable agree on issues much more substantive than where to have lunch.
Today’s Gazette reports on just how poorly MoCo’s delegation served its constituents.
In the lead-up to the special session, lawmakers said that if they could put up a unified front, the delegation would be able to flex its political muscle, trade votes for concessions on county priorities and send a signal that Montgomery is a force to be reckoned with in Annapolis. (Stop laughing! Stop it! Stop the freakin laughing!)[…]
Last week, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis urged lawmakers to ‘‘concentrate on the problem that’s in front of them, not on their own parochial interests.”
That combined with Gov. Martin O’Malley’s call for consensus, and the delegation ‘‘collapsed,” Del. Benjamin F. Kramer said.
‘‘Certain people were brought in to meet with the speaker and afterwards didn’t feel quite as strongly about coalescing to support Montgomery County’s needs,” said Kramer (D-Dist. 19) of Derwood.
Folded like a cheap suit.
Not only did the delegation’s unity “collapse” the actually have nothing to show for it.
All of the projects O’Malley touted are already in the pipeline but could be sidelined by a poor economy or the uncertainties of the legislative process.
‘‘We heard things that might be coming to Montgomery County. The reality is we did not have things put into writing,” Kramer said. ‘‘It’s one thing to just have a wish list to be considered. It’s another thing to have it funded and put in the budget and kept in the budget.”
Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons, a critic of the governor’s slots plan and income tax proposal, agreed.
‘‘The delegation has decisively answered the question of whether there’s any there there,” said Simmons (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville. ‘‘The people who are claiming progress are finding virtue out of necessity.”
As we’ve said before, this is what happens when wooly-headed do-gooders tangle with a politician. Their constituents get fleeced. The sad thing is that MoCo’s delegation are probably very decent people at some level. The actually, and frighteningly, believe the rhetoric they toss about. The really believe that successful people should bear the brunt of taxation while most of the population simply lines up to collect the benefits. They really believe their constituents are willing to pay to subsidize the dystopia that is much of Baltimore City. They really think their county is well served by bearing 81% of the income tax increase. They really believe that everyone is in this together and if they compromise so will the other guy.
In short, you’re dealing with well-meaning morons.
When this tax package passes our only comfort, and a cold one it will be, is that the goofs that were primarily responisible for its passage will be screwing their constituents more than they are screwing us.