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Squeezing for the Last Drops

As if Governor Martin O’Malley hasn’t spent enough money, hasn’t raised enough taxes, and hasn’t bloated the size of the Maryland state government enough, apparently he has decided to double down in advance of his re-election campaign:

Drawing little public attention so far, a small team of aides has developed a list of 15 major goals — and several dozen smaller ones — intended to guide the remainder of O’Malley’s term, as well as a second one if he wins reelection next year.

Among the targets: Increase public transit ridership by 10 percent a year. (That would require doubling the growth seen last year, when high gas prices led many people to abandon their cars.) Reduce violent crime against women and children by 25 percent by 2012. (That would require recent trends to accelerate and continue for several years.) And end childhood hunger in Maryland by 2015. (No one seems to know exactly how that would be measured.)

Other goals provide aggressive benchmarks for education, the environment and health care.

O’Malley’s office is preparing to publicize the efforts in coming days. But the loftiness of the goals and the motives behind them are already sparking debate as O’Malley prepares to stand for reelection.

Yeah, no kidding. Governor O’Malley has already left a trail of broken promises across the state from his first election campaign. Remember lower energy rates? Remember promises not to raise taxes? Remember enforcing the death penalty? Yeah, the Governor hopes you don’t remember those promises either. But in typical O’Malleyesque fashion, he decides not to explain his failures as a Governor and instead goes back to his old bag of tricks to criticize……Bob Ehrlich:

In an interview, O’Malley described the goals as “pretty ambitious but not unachievable,” and he said that is by design.

“If by putting my political neck on the line we’re able to get halfway to these goals, it will be far more progress than the previous administration,” O’Malley said. “The politically safe thing to do is never have any goals, because then you can’t be judged or measured by them. That’s the risk we take.”

No Governor, working towards your goals isn’t progress. It’s a regressive strategy that is designed to increase the size of government at the expense of Maryland’s middle and working class families. It’s a strategy that is designed to create feel-good talking points for your re-election campaign instead of providing any actual goals to create good public policy. Even those goals that seem reasonable are festooned with your administration’s previous failures. Take a look at transit policy; how can the MTA hope to increase ridership when they are so hopelessly mismanaged? Ending childhood hunger? Maybe a good place to start would not to make feeding children so difficult through aggressive tax increases and large increases in government spending. Do you not understand that those policies are what makes it hard for families to make ends meet, harder for individuals to support local charitable efforts, and harder for businesses to stay open to continue to employ Maryland’s middle and working class families?

It of course is easy to be cynical of Martin O’Malley’s efforts due to his failed administration. But since O’Malley and Co. never seem to learn their lessons, the only way the people of Maryland will notice the administration’s new efforts is the continued contraction of Maryland’s economy and more and more taxes coming out of their paychecks unless we eneact positive change at the ballot box next November….

(Crossposted)






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