BRACtion Shock

The Baltimore Sun reports that Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is encouraging those jurisdictions seeking to belly up to the BRAC trough to “think regional”:

To prepare for the thousands of jobs coming to Maryland from a national military base realignment, local governments must be prepared to give up their top priorities for roads, schools and other infrastructure improvements in favor of projects that are most important to the region, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown said yesterday.

Addressing a meeting of local leaders who are preparing for the influx that will result from the national Base Realignment and Closure process, known as BRAC, Brown said county and municipal governments will need to review each other’s plans and agree on common priorities.

“The key to success is a regional approach in BRAC,” said Brown, who is developing BRAC plans for Gov. Martin O’Malley. “If any one county tries to go out and win the day, it’s probably not going to work.”

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This is charming in a befuddled-old-man-who-believes-in-leprechauns kind of way. With free money on the table, money that can buy political influence at home, there is just about zero chance of responsible decisionmaking based on mutual concessions. We’ve seen the preview of this already with Mayor Sheila Dixon making a bid for money to attract a nearly non-existent population of new military families.

It is hard to see why Harford and Anne Arundel Counties would voluntarily give up first call on impact funds in deference to Baltimore County or City. Not that maybe they shouldn’t but it is simply hard to visualize that as a political winner on the election trail.

This call for spending less is a hint that the amount of money being requested shocks the conscience of even a Democrat administration. That is hard to imagine.

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