The Sun doesn’t learn

The Sun carries the flag again for Governor O’Malley today on the budget issue:

True to his word, Gov. Martin O’Malley yesterday unveiled his plan to keep a lid on overall state spending next year. Even his Republican critics will have to concede that while he may have recently raised taxes, he’s not exactly a big spender, at least not in fiscal 2009.

Not only does Mr. O’Malley’s proposed $31.5 billion budget fall well within the state’s long-standing affordability guidelines, but it also reflects the smallest year-to-year increase in five years. And it does so by broadly reducing the growth of spending, including eliminating tens of millions of dollars in Thornton aid that was due to local school systems in the coming year.

Now, of course, the Sun thinks that this is a good thing

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The 4 percent budget increase reflects the unpleasant reality of last year’s tax increases – most of it was needed just to keep vital services such as education, transportation, health and public safety at existing levels, not to expand them.

Of course all of us on both sides of the aisle realize that current spending in those core issues need to be adjusted for the rate of inflation.

However, what about the Governor’s discretionary spending? What cuts were made, other than 500 jobs that are being eliminated? Other than Sellinger formula money, what other spending levels were held in check as compared to the FY 2008 budget? If discretionary spending remains high, how can O’Malley say that we are in bad fiscal shape?

When you get down to it, the budget is four percent higher than it was last year. Which makes you wonder how anybody could objectively say that the massive historic tax hikes O’Malley and the Democrats just rammed down are thoughts were ever necessary at all…..


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