Deschenaux questions O’Malley Budget

Last week I called Martin O’Malley’s budget irresponsible budgeting. Warren Deschenaux, the General Assembly’s Chief Budget analyst, seems to agree:

Maryland lawmakers should consider a Plan B in case the roughly $389 million in federal stimulus funds Gov. Martin O’Malley is counting on to balance the state’s budget doesn’t materialize, the General Assembly’s top budget analyst said Monday.

“Some have questioned whether that money is reliably in the bank,” Warren G. Deschenaux said at a hearing. “I would say that is not a certainty. The question then is: What to do about it?”

Deschenaux also warned that the roughly $442 million in cash infusions from previously untouchable parts of the budget that O’Malley uses to help close the revenue hole “amounts to an erosion of accounting standards.” But he stopped short of ruling the transfers out-of-bounds, saying they had been used during past downturns to keep services going.

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“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” he said. “There is very little that is actually new in terms of the thinking underlying the ‘found money’ aspect of this budget.”

“An erosion of accounting standards.” Seems like a synonym for irresponsible budgeting for me.

The question, of course, is what the General Assembly is going to be with Deschenaux’s assessment, particularly in regards to the $389 million in Monopoly money that O’Malley invented in order to cover this budget shortfall. When the General Assembly’s own policy analysts are telling them that a budget seems to be relying on gimmicks, smoke, and mirrors it (should) be incumbent upon them to make appropriate cuts in order to pass a responsible budget.

But I’m not holding my breath…


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