While Maryland’s so called “Doomsday” budget has so many chicken littles running around screaming the sky is falling, perhaps it is time to add a little adult perspective to the contingency reductions, which cut less than $1 billion from a $35.9 billion budget.
Instead of raising taxes and spending $35.9 billion, Maryland is cutting spending for a budget of roughly 35.1 billion. A drastic 2 percent “cut” from proposed spending. In fact, this “Doomsday” budget, when considered in the arc of state spending, doesn’t represent a cut as it spends nearly $1 billion more than last year.
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It’s the end of the world as Maryland Democratic special interests know it, but taxpayers feel fine.
Governor O’Malley singled out the $204.9 million in cuts to education as “a damn shame.” This is curious given that these shamefully damning cuts are smaller than the cuts to education O’Malley himself proposed last year.
The shrieking harpies of the state’s education establishment are naturally up in arms over these “Doomsday” cuts. Forget for a moment that this budget does not contain the teacher pension shift to the counties, even the slightest decrease in the flow from the spigot of the public treasury to their has the teachers unions screaming the end is nigh.
Instead of petulant whining, the Maryland State Education Association should explain to taxpayers why we should continue to spend billions more every year on an education system that produces persistent and widening achievement gaps, a dead last ranking in the poverty gap for 8th grade math, 35th for 4th grade reading, and too many high school graduates, who need remedial math and English when they get to college.
Senate president Mike Miller’s insistence on a casino in Prince George’s County may have temporarily staved off another substantial tax increase, but the late great Ron Smith’s central insight to way this governor and the way Maryland’s one-party rulers operate still holds: “all we can do is bend over and await the denouement.”