Other People’s Money

Who else is stunned by this development?

A union representing more than 30,000 Maryland state employees asked Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday to tap into the state’s $750 million rainy day fund to help avoid deeper cuts to state services. Patrick Moran, executive director of the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, held a news conference Thursday with dozens of union members, who held up signs that read: “It’s Raining.” State officials avoid using the fund, fearing the state would to lose its Triple-A bond rating, which enables Maryland to borrow money at a more favorable rate.

I am glad that the Union at least can acknowledge when it’s raining, but this is one of those metaphorical time when somebody is trying to piss on your head and tell you it’s raining.

The rainy day fund exists when the state is short on money. This is true. However, financial mismanagement and incompetence by Governor O’Malley and his allies in the State House is no excuse to dip into the rainy day fund. It’s very easy for AFSCME to call for O’Malley to take money out of the rainy day fund because it’s other people’s money; money that was collected in taxes at a time in which the state was collecting more money from the taxpayers than it was spending. The money was put aside for an emergency; a real emergency.

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AFSCME trying to protect its flank in order to save union jobs in a bloated state government? That’s not an emergency…

Governor O’Malley would be right to refute calls to dip into the rainy day fund in an order to cover the costs of his own mistakes. But there is an opportunity in this, but only if Governor O’Malley learns the lessons from his prior mistakes, reduces state spending, and reduces the size of Maryland state government. However, I’m sure the political pressures from his union allies to spend other people’s money to protect their hide will take precedence over such common sense ideas…


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