Everyone Should Suffer The Furlough

While the federal government decides to go further into debt by throwing billions at failing industries, many state and local municipalities are exploring ways to slash their budgets. Unlike the feds, the State of Maryland remains Constitutionally mandated to a balanced budget. And, as much as he probably foams at the mouth to do so, Governor O’Malley could never sell one of his beloved tax increases in this environment. Therefore, in an effort to “generate” the revenue shortfalls, state workers will soon take a 2-5 day furlough. While this certainly will hurt some in the short term, at least these people aren’t facing a permanent lay-off at this time.

To his credit, even Governor O’Malley agreed to surrender 5 days pay. It’s commendable because unlike the other workers not receiving pay, he’ll probably continue his normal routine. Now, when the General Assembly reconvenes in January, they need not worry. Lucky for them, the Maryland Constitution protects their paychecks. Therefore, as other state workers recover from their lost wages, Annapolis Politicians will operate business as usual. And, in addition to their salary, they’ll get their perks such as mileage, meal and hotel reimbursements.

When the Senators and Delegates return to duty, each of them should voluntarily forfeit at least two days pay. If anyone refuses to participate, then s/he should have their name splattered throughout the media. After all, let their constituents decide if they should play by the same rules. In turn, anyone living within a sixty mile radius of the State House should forgo reimbursement requests on their hotel expenses. Likewise, no lawmaker should not receive free gas and meals for simply showing up for their job.

When it comes time to shrink a budget, everyone needs to tighten their belts. Certainly, no one person or group should be exempt from the pains of this necessary process.

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