Hogan Budget Critics: Where Were You During The Last Eight Years?

Since Governor Larry Hogan’s FY 2016 Budget was released on January 22, 2015, it has been applauded by conservatives as structured and balanced, and criticized by liberals as unfair and counterproductive.


The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus has called Governor Hogan’s budget “unacceptable”.


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Jay Walker, the Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation, referring to the suggestion of cuts to education funding in his County, said, “When you start picking on children, then I think that’s a fight worth fighting for.”


Even before Governor Hogan was inaugurated, there was criticism of what he may or may not do with the budget.  I recall Kenneth B. Haines, President of the Prince George’s County Educators Association, questioning in an opinion piece, “Is tax relief for corporations a higher priority than the earlier intervention of universal pre-kindergarten? Unfortunately, those who would benefit from early childhood education do not fund political campaigns or vote.”


Knowing of the criticism building around the budget, especially in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Baltimore City, Budget Secretary David Brinkley, referring to school districts, said, “There’s absolutely no cuts. People are not happy with the rate of increase that they had hoped for.”


Brinkley, of course, was referring to the rate of the Geographical Cost of Education Index (GCEI).


But, let’s put the budget specifics aside and ask a couple of questions that I have often asked since the Governor’s budget was released.


Where were all of these people who are now criticizing Governor Hogan’s budget during the last 8 years of the O’Malley/Brown administration when our State’s economy was being destroyed and the deficit was growing?


Did any of these democratic legislators, union officials, or education advocates openly call upon the last administration to work on balancing the budget and getting Maryland’s economy back on track, in fear that poor fiscal decisions may result in tough budget decisions in the future?


It’s also amazing to me that those who embrace and promote the status quo of business as usual in Annapolis will not make a big fuss about a rain tax, but will openly criticize a balanced budget.


Just to clarify: Rain tax, yes.  Balanced budget, no.  Doesn’t really make much sense, does it?


Sadly, I believe what is occurring here is “politics as usual” on the part of Democrats in Annapolis, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Baltimore City.  And, unfortunately, some leaders in my home county of Prince George’s have planned to undermine Governor Hogan, starting on Election Night before the then Governor-Elect even got to the microphone to give his victory speech.


I remember arriving back home from the Hogan victory party at about 1:00am the morning after Election Night.  I had just exchanged thumbs up with the newly elected Governor, and, instead of going asleep, I decided to look at the election coverage that was set to record on the DVR.


One specific portion of commentary from Election Night has stuck in my mind.  For much of the Election Night coverage on News Channel 8, former Governor Bob Ehrlich and now former Delegate Jolene Ivey, who represented a portion of Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates, participated with news anchors in the coverage.  It appeared for some of the night, during the early coverage, that Delegate Ivey was being quite optimistic and rather joyous in what appeared to be a sure win for the Brown camp.  However, as the night went on, Governor Ehrlich left the news set, and Delegate Ivey was left alone with the Channel 8 news anchors to answer their questions, which she probably really didn’t feel like doing once she realized that this election was going to be won by the Republicans.  Then as Governor-Elect Hogan was making his way onto the stage, embracing his family and waiving to his supporters, Delegate Ivey said, “We’ve got to make him a one-term governor.”


Now, while I would like to be completely optimistic that such an attitude towards Governor Hogan is not common place, I think we need to view some of the budget criticism and ask if it is really sincere concern over the budget, or if it is status quo strategy from the liberal establishment to do everything they can to block success for Hogan.


In electing Larry Hogan as Governor, the People of Maryland voted for change.  The major message of the Hogan campaign was that we had to get Maryland’s economy back on track, and that a continuation of the policies of the last 8 years would not do the job.  But despite every sincere effort to make things better, there will most likely always be those who do not want what is best for our State, but rather would prefer to have a certain Party in charge, regardless of whether or not certain policies would greatly damage our economy.


Those who have been so outspoken of Governor Hogan’s budget appear to be blaming the new Governor for taking on the dire task of fixing our State’s broken economy, rather than blaming the previous Governor of the last 8 years for messing it up.  It really is that simple.


We need to do everything we can to remind the critics that the People chose Larry Hogan, and his message was clear: Let’s Change Maryland.


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